How Sasfin Bank Is Beyond A Banking Platform – The Evolution Of B\\YOND From opening a business bank account in one day to advanced business analytics at the touch of a button, B\\YOND is asking business owners what they need most from a banking platform - and delivering on it.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
You're reading Entrepreneur South Africa, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.
- Visit: www.sasfin.com/bank/byond/
- Call: 0861 SASFIN for more information
Imagine you pay millions each month in rebates. The thousands of transactions are batched and go out on the first of each month. What happens if a few are incorrect and the entire batch is rejected and needs to be recaptured?
For one business owner, the entire process meant that he always needed to be available at the beginning of the month and customers were often paid late, creating a reputational risk for his business and limiting his opportunity to grow his portfolio with existing clients.
It was a huge pain point that many entrepreneurs share, and one Sasfin's online banking platform, B\\YOND was determined to fix. "We asked real business owners to tell us what the banking issues were that they either hated the most, or that affected their businesses the most," says Rodger Dunn, Head of Transactional Banking at Sasfin.
"This is just one problem we've solved, and since joining our platform, that same entrepreneur can now work remotely, knowing that his rebates will be paid on time, even if a few transactions need to be fixed."
The Evolution of B\\YOND
What do business owners need most? What are their pain points and what tools will help them make money, save money and be more efficient? How can we deliver these solutions in a simple-to-use, intuitive way?
These are the questions that Sasfin's B\\YOND team sat down to answer when they began working on their new online banking platform. In addition to offering business owners a platform where they can transact online, they wanted to build a strategic business tool that solved real everyday problems for entrepreneurs.
"We launched in March this year with a platform that offered much more than the normal functionality of online banking," says Rodger.
"Through B\\YOND, our customers are able to apply for a business bank account online; perform their own payroll management; create and send personalised quotes and invoices directly from the platform; manage revenue and expenses; and connect their Sasfin Bank transactional data with Xero, the fastest growing Cloud-based accounting software provider in the world."
For B\\YOND users, this was just the beginning. "Customers already on the platform will find additional functionality being added regularly," explains Rodger.
"We have a vision, but we are also listening to our customers. Within the core team are two business owners who bring key insights to the product, but we also have a closed group of businesses that regularly test new functionality."
B\\YOND's key competitive advantage is how the entire platform integrates traditionally disparate functionality into one portal. "Everybody offers an accounting package, transactional banking, a credit card and so on," says Rodger. "However, B\\YOND's platform integration and how we make everything work together is our advantage, because that's how we save customers the most precious commodity: Time.
"Let's use Xero as an example. Instead of manually populating payments, with Xero you get secure, direct daily feed integration from your Sasfin bank account into your accounting software."
Removing banking barriers
"B\\YOND's Cloud platform enables us to take any manual process and make it digital. The benefits of this are endless, but we started at the beginning of a banking journey and worked our way up from there," says Rodger.
"If you want to open a business bank account, you generally need to meet with your banker or stand in a long queue at a branch. If there's more than one shareholder or director in the business, multiple parties need to be at that meeting. Once the bank has laid out its value proposition and you agree to go ahead, you then have documentation to fill in, which everyone needs to sign.
"As a result, setting up a business banking account can take up to a few weeks with multiple in-person engagements. We saw an opportunity to change that by creating a seamless, online process. If you have everything you need, you can have a business bank account up and running on the same day that you begin your application."
How has Sasfin managed to fundamentally change this time-consuming and paper-based process? "We've taken something that's serial in nature and split it into parallel processes," explains Rodger.
"Our objective is to remove as much of the friction and barriers of opening a business bank account as possible. We're a technology-based business, but we're also high-touch. Technology should be an enabler, it shouldn't take the place of people or complicate processes. We understand that business owners don't only want to deal with a platform. They want consultants who understand their business and needs."
Thinking out the box
As an alternative bank, Sasfin has looked for ways to make business banking more efficient and supportive of entrepreneurial needs, while lowering the costs for clients.
One way this has been achieved is through a branch-less and ATM-less environment. Sasfin customers can draw money for one flat fee from any ATM across the country.
"You're paying for usage, instead of an entire infrastructure you hardly ever use," says Rodger.
B\\YOND plays a key role in this value proposition. "Instead of migrating businesses onto different platforms as they grow and evolve, we've kept things simple. More people and money generally means more controls. As businesses grow and more people need access to the banking platform, the system becomes complicated and more expensive. Those platforms were designed for large corporates, not growing entrepreneurial businesses.
"We have reduced the costs and complexities that corporate-focused platforms often come with. Our platform allows you to bank in a manner that supports your particular type of business, for example the platform caters for one or many users in a business with view access that aligns to the person's role in the business."
Another key functionality that B\\YOND has added is client classifications. Everything can be tagged and categorised. At the click of a button a full recon can be pulled, showing what was spent. All recons can be done directly from B\\YOND's banking platform.
Looking to the future
There is a lot still to come. "We are building one single platform that you can run your entire financial management through.
"Our three-year goal is for B\\YOND to be a business analytics tool that entrepreneurs can access through their Internet banking platform," explains Rodger.
Bank outside the box
The Sasfin Transactional Banking Business Account is designed for SMEs that want to focus on what they're most passionate about — their business — while their banking platform sweats the small stuff, but also helps manage and grow their business.
Do you spend unnecessary time on banking?
Does your bank pay you market-leading interest rates?
Does your bank give you easy cash management in real-time?
Would you like to manage your payroll and invoicing from your bank account?
Does your bank help you keep track of your cash flow, manage your admin, and provide tools to help run your business successfully?
Sign up today and have access to a whole new world of better banking for your business.