Barclays has launched a new digital tool for its small to medium sized business (SME) customers today, aimed at helping them speed up the invoicing process.
The mobile invoice tool has been developed in-house and will be launched on both iOS and Android devices from within the existing Barclays Mobile Banking app, enabling small business owners to create and send invoices straight from their phone.
It also allows users to track, manage and reconcile their invoices in one place. In practice, this is a set of fields to fill out, including: invoice number, client name, dates, rate and VAT. This can then be used to generate an invoice or PDF file and send it directly to the client.
“We’re proud to be the first high street bank to launch free mobile invoicing for our small business clients within our app," Ian Rand, CEO of Barclays Business Banking said.
“We know that many business owners aren’t confined to an office. With long hours spent out and about seeing clients, they often find themselves sorting invoices manually when returning home in the evenings or at the weekend.
“By introducing invoicing within their regular banking app, our clients can keep track of everything in one place. We’re helping to save them time, and speed up the payment cycle, with just a few simple taps on their phone.”
Barclays accompanied the announcement with some research, which found that amongst the 250 small business owners it surveyed, respondents were spending an average of 92 minutes a week on invoicing, costing them £2,000 a year.
While mobile invoicing might not exactly be groundbreaking, with independent UK fintech providers like Coconut or Tide providing this sort of functionality in their apps already, it does give us some insight into how Barclays is thinking about its digital services and how it can offer value to its customers through its existing app.
By contrast, earlier this week RBS Group unveiled a new standalone, digital-only SME banking app called Mettle, which includes invoicing tools.
HSBC has yet to launch a standalone digital SME banking product, but is leaning towards the standalone product route in the consumer space with its Connected Money consumer-facing app launched earlier this year.
Barclays on the other hand is looking to bake these new, fintech-inspired digital features into its existing digital products, as shown back in September when it started to allow its consumer banking customers to view other bank accounts, even if they are with a rival bank, within the core Barclays mobile app.