As alternative lenders have pressured banks to strengthen their position among small- and medium-sized businesses, mainstream financial institutions are beginning to offer more than just traditional banking services. A new generation of SME owners and borrowers is demanding mobile banking, office space, and other enterprise tools from their banks.
The trend is aligned with the latest announcement from BMO Bank of Montreal, which announced Monday (June 1) that it is teaming up with cloud accounting software provider FreshBooks to better service its SME customers.
In a press release, the companies revealed the BMO’s small business customers will now have access to FreshBooks’ accounting software to manage their cash flow and daily operations.
“Managing the financial operations of a small business in today’s marketplace is becoming more complicated and time consuming – requiring our customers to dedicate significant time and resources,” said BMO Bank of Montreal’s head of Canadian Personal Banking, Ernie Johannson. “We’re confident that this partnership offers a holistic approach to making our customers’ lives easier by enabling them to improve their business processes and access the tools needed both to launch and grow their businesses successfully.”
The partnership arises as BMO released new statistic on SME operations. A recent poll, conducted by Pollara, revealed that 36 percent of business owners agree that day-to-day business operations are complicated. Nearly one-fifth agree that banking for their business is similarly complicated – 18 percent of SMEs surveyed said that managing income and finances is the No. 1 most challenging aspect of running their business.
Other key insights revealed how small business owners are embracing new technology, however. Nearly three-quarters (68 percent) said that they rely on a smart device to run their business, with a third agreeing that they rely on such a device heavily. FreshBooks added that its mobile-ready interface adheres to this smartphone and tablet adoption trend among today’s small business owners. The app, reports said, allows SME owners to log expenses, track payment statuses and send invoices right from their mobile device.