Small British businesses are wasting time unnecessarily. In a year I estimate that the person in a small business who processes payments to suppliers is wasting a full working week.

The problem is that most small businesses view unpaid bills in their accounting software, re-enter the same information in their online bank account and then go back to their accounting software to mark the bills as paid.

This duplication of data and effort and the manual intervention required is compounded because this is a common task. It’s done daily, weekly or monthly by small businesses up and down the country who need to pay suppliers, contractors and employees.

I delved into this subject in this article on accountingweb, Accounting & banking needs to be more joined up.

This is how it should work:

  1. Create a bill in accounting software
  2. Log into bank account and click a button that imports unpaid bills from your accounting software
  3. Choose the bills to pay
  4. When paid from the bank, the unpaid bill in the accounting software is automatically updated as paid

Because this approach has the data entry in only one place with the process largely automated, it would reduce the time spent paying suppliers to a minimum, leaving businesses to focus more on customers, products & services and growth.

I would be interested to hear your thoughts.


Posted by Tim Fouracre

Tim founded Clear Books in 2008. Like many small business owners he worked from home for 15 months to get his startup off the ground. Today Tim enjoys helping Clear Books, its customers and its growing team innovate and achieve. Tim did his GCE O Levels in Ghana.


  1. Sounds like a nice idea in reality it will probably have to work the other way around, by the banks providing an API into their system rather than them doing an integration for all the different accounting platforms customers could use.

    It would solve a lot of problems to have a API direct into banks with a project I’m doing but the day that is going to happen seems a very long way away.


  2. Hi James/Lino, you may both be right. The UK needs one innovative bank prepared to step forward and change the face of accounting/banking! Cloud accounting vendors have the public APIs, banks unfortunately don’t.

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