Sydney, Australia – Realizing the need to serve its small-and-medium enterprise (SME) clients, UK-based open banking platform BankiFi has announced its expansion to the Australian market, fostering a new diversity in the country’s financial services ecosystem.

On top of the expansion, BankiFi has also appointed Lloyd Parata as the country manager for BankiFi in ANZ. He has been in the information technology industry for more than 25 years. He has spent more than 20 years as a sales director selling enterprise software solutions to banking institutions across Asia and ANZ.

BankiFi’s technology platform ensures banks remain relevant by offering SMEs an innovative solution to operate their business, whilst avoiding common challenges like late payment.

Parata explains that a combination of both regulation and advances in technology have lowered the point of entry enabling new entrants such as non-bank platforms like Stripe, Square and Shopify to erode bank revenues.

“For these new entrants, small businesses are the low hanging fruit, because they contribute massively to the economy, there are lots of them, and they have been underserviced thus far. However making payments is actually just a seat at the table. Small business owners now also expect reduction of the time they spend on manual administration and chasing late payments,” he stated.

BankiFi offers banks a set of configurable integrated services – accounting, invoicing, payments and cash forecasting – designed around the workflows of their small business customers, and embeds them in the most appropriate bank channel. The solution is built using a range of business microservices that small businesses can subscribe to.

Parata adds that small businesses are the backbone of Australia’s business landscape, accounting for 98% of all Australian businesses, and employing over 4.7 million people, more than 40% of the business workforce, making it Australia’s biggest employer.

“SMEs typically wait longer to get paid than bigger businesses, with late payments and time spent on burdensome financial management placing immense pressure on their survival. Being an SME ourselves, we wanted to create a service that helped business owners simplify collecting money from their customers, automate invoicing and bookkeeping, and to receive the money directly into their account – all through a mobile experience that reflects how they operate,” Parata commented.

He goes on to explain further that a lot of micro and small businesses suffer tremendously as a result of high transaction fees, delayed or late payments, complex financial admin tasks and cash-flow disruption. He also noted that when it comes to managing cash flow, small business owners tend to be stuck between two offerings within a bank: consumer functionality that is too basic, and commercial and/or treasury functionality that is too complex.

“Rising expectations from sole traders and micro-business owners ramp up the pressure for banks to step up and provide services they never did before, such as invoicing, reconciliation, and bookkeeping options. Dropping the ball right now may mean losing touch with a vital customer base — and, of course, there is no guarantee those customers will come back once they leave,” Parata added.

He concluded, “Small business has been desperate for a solution like BankiFi provides for far too long. By offering BankiFi to their small business customers, banks can help their customers manage their business while they can get on with doing what they do best.”