Ulster Bank is continuing its support for Northern Ireland’s small businesses by providing free access to leading accounting software FreeAgent.
Customers in Northern Ireland with a business bank account can now access the FreeAgent platform, which is used by over 100,000 small businesses throughout the UK, free of charge. And as long as the bank account is retained, customers will have unlimited access to the FreeAgent platform.
FreeAgent is HMRC-recognised and compatible with the government’s Making Tax Digital (MTD) initiative, which first launched in 2019 for compulsory VAT-registered businesses earning over £85,000. Next year, MTD will be widened further to include many more businesses.
FreeAgent helps to simplify the tax process by automatically categorising transactions and enabling customers to upload expense receipts directly into their accounts. The software can also be linked with businesses’ bank accounts to consolidate banking and accounting services in one place, giving small business owners more time to concentrate on running their business.
For businesses that opt-in, data relating to a company’s accounts can be shared with the bank to better inform decision-making and to help it support customers to plan and grow their business.
Also included with the FreeAgent platform is its free mobile app which boasts many sophisticated features such as enabling customers to send invoices, upload expense receipts, track time and manage their business finances while on the go.
Mark Crimmins, Head of Ulster Bank in Northern Ireland said. “We know that many of our small businesses in Northern Ireland are facing challenges the likes of which they have never faced before. There is an obvious need to support business in the short-term as it responds to months of depressed activity, but, as ever, we also need to look ahead.
“By making this accounting software available to all of our business banking customers for free we hope to relieve small business owners of the time-intensive process of monitoring their expenses and cash flow, affording them more time to focus on the immediate needs of their business and to innovate and plan for the future.”
FreeAgent is the latest digital innovation to be rolled out to customers in Northern Ireland by Ulster Bank as part of the NatWest Group. It follows the launch of Tyl in May which was introduced to help SMEs accept card payments.
Mark added: “The way we bank and manage our finances is always evolving and these tech-led solutions are key to equipping our customers with the information they need to adapt and grow.”
Ed Molyneux, CEO and co-founder of FreeAgent, added: “We’re really excited to be working with Ulster Bank and providing small business customers with the most intuitive way of staying on top of their finances.
“With the next phase of the government’s Making Tax Digital plans coming into effect soon, small businesses need to ensure they are properly equipped to comply with the legislation. By using FreeAgent, Ulster Bank customers can keep up-to-date secure digital records, file their tax returns directly to HMRC and manage their accounts more efficiently than ever - which, in turn, will enable them to make better, more informed decisions about their businesses.”