Online challenger bank Coconut is launching a combined accounting and banking service this month.
Described as the first ever mobile app offering end-to-end accounting from current account through to HMRC and Companies House filings, Coconut will plug customers into a network of accountant partners who can provide advice within the app.
“Coconut’s customers will be able to chat to an accountant whenever they want, get their VAT returns, self-assessment and corporation taxes done all in one place and it is fully Making Tax Digital ready,” said Coconut co-founder and CEO Sam O’Connor.
“It is unlike any other offering in the UK and supersedes any existing solutions out there.”
Coconut is a hybrid accounting, tax and banking service designed around open banking APIs to cater for freelancers, self-employed people and small business owners. Since it opened its beta site to customers in January last year, the bank has attracted around 5,000 mobile banking customers. Alongside Fluidly and Funding Circle, Coconut is one of six winners of the Nesta Open Up Challenge grants to support innovative open banking businesses.
O’Connor set up Coconut with another former PwC trainee Adam Goodall. After leaving the Big Four accounting firm, they built up a fintech company called ProConfirm and worked as freelances after selling it to Confirmation.com in 2014.
In answer to queries from AccountingWEB, O’Connor played down concerns that Coconut was trying to take work away from accountants.
“Our aim is to bridge the gap between the accounting industry and our customers, giving accountants more clients and reducing the level of manual work,” he said. “Our customers want to talk to accounting experts for peace of mind. It’s this human touch we know technology can never replace.”
The Coconut accountant portal will be open to any accountant, he continued: “Their client just needs to share access. Where our customers are just starting out, the integrated service means we can pass the work on to our partner network and operate a seamless experience in the app.”
AccountingWEB’s Head of Insight has been with the site since 1999 and likes to spend his time studying accountants’ technology habits. When not nerding out, you can find him exploring obscure indie music and searching for the perfect organic sourdough loaf from his base in Brighton, UK.