Form3, Countingup and PPS create new SME offering
Form3, the cloud payments firm, Countingup, the business banking app, and PPS, a European payments processor, have combined forces to serve small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
The fintechs say the cloud-based solution will save SMEs 8-20 hours, and £15-50 each month. These savings will fall around business finance running costs and accounting tasks.
How the model works
UK start-up Countingup will focus on simplifying the workflow – this includes auto-matching invoices to payments and delivering real-time tax estimates.
The accounting app can also convert transactional data into categorised business accounts, which skips a lot of administrative steps for businesses.
Partners Form3 and PPS will then take on the responsibility of connectivity and transaction processing.
Helping UK SMEs cross borders
“There is still work to be done to level the playing field and open up domestic and international business banking services for UK SMEs and micro-businesses,” says Michael Mueller, Form3’s CEO.
The SME market contributes around £2 trillion a year to the UK economy – that’s 52% of the economy as a whole. To scale, these SMEs need to be able to send international payments.
With international business comes cash management, foreign exchange (FX) risk management, and trade finance requirements.
SMEs will be trying to balance tight cost margins due to the coronavirus crisis. The costs incurred when doing business abroad can often put SMEs off certain regions altogether.
To jump this hurdle, SMEs need faster access to data, less intermediaries, and quicker transaction times – all for a cheaper price than the market currently offers.
Relationship between the firms
PPS seems to be the bridge between Form3 and Countingup.
The company is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and licensed by Mastercard. Form3’s technology connects PPS to the UK Faster Payments and BACs schemes.
PPS is also Countingup’s long-term banking technology, issuing and processing partner.
“Our collaboration with PPS and Form3 means we can offer the best in connectivity and transaction processing, allowing Countingup to focus on simplifying the SME workflow,” says Countingup’s CEO Tim Fouracre.
Fouracre is the former CEO of Clear Books, which offers small businesses accounting software.
Last month, Form3 landed $33 million from major UK banks Lloyds Banking Group and Nationwide
Lloyds also signed a strategic partnership with Form3 back in July. It announced then that its August investment would count as an undisclosed minority equity stake in the fintech.
In May, Countingup raised £4 million in a “bridge round” of funding led by ING Ventures.
The fintech will look to raise a larger funding round “once normality returns to society and the economy” post-coronavirus.