FloBiz is a neobank for small & medium businesses that aims to accelerate the growth of their enterprises through technology. The startup is chasing the mission of digitisation to contribute to the building of an Aatmanirbhar Bharat by solving the most pressing problems of the Indian SMB sector. In conversation with Rakesh Yadav, Co-founder and CTO, FloBiz to understand how they are integrating the needs of SMBs on their platform to make it easier to understand, operate, and grow their business:
1.What’s the growth like for the neo-banking industry in the present landscape?
Many neo-banking startups are building a competitive digital banking landscape. However, Indian neo-banks are yet to receive specific licenses or regulatory approvals. The RBI, SEBI, and IRDAI primarily regulate the Indian financial sector. These regulators have introduced various initiatives and regulations more often in the recent past, for increased, consistent, seamless, and safe accessibility to financial products through digital modes. All the regulators put in tremendous effort to make regulations commensurate with the financial ecosystem’s ever-changing technological developments, and innovations are laudable.
Having already established their technology and offerings, neo-banking players are abstracting solutions as building blocks and platforms for other players. With competition increasing among players in the financial services domain, including traditional banks, new-age FinTechs, technology firms, and non-banking entrants, it is yet to be seen whether the market is deep enough for neo-banks to grow sustainably and equitably.
2.There’s a lot of talk on mandatory e-invoicing for even small businesses now. How can SMBs/MSMEs ensure they are aligned?
The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) on August 1, 2022, notified lowering the e-invoice threshold to Rs 10 crore and above from October 1, 2022. The progressive reduction of the e-invoicing threshold has made e-invoicing mandatory for all categories of GST taxpayers.
The very first step for SMBs/MSMEs falling under the bracket is to have a system/software to generate e-invoices. While this can be done through the government’s Invoice Registration Portal (IRP), but businesses will find it easier to work with a billing software with an e-invoicing module. myBillBook has recently added e-invoicing to their invoicing suite and allows generating e-invoices with a single click. In addition to the convenience of having a single platform for all invoicing, reporting, accounting needs, it also allows users to use customized billing templates and store their e-invoices on cloud for anytime and anywhere reference.
Along with having an easy to use invoicing software, a few more things should be taken care of to align to e-invoicing in a hassle free manner-
- Figure out which transactions need e-invoices and separate them from the rest of the invoices/documents
- Maintain source documents on their suppliers and customers to guarantee proper input of invoice information such as the GST identity number, bank account, and recipient details
- Businesses operating on modest numbers are more vulnerable to delays if they are not conforming to a real-time invoice referencing system that can generate the IRNs (Invoice Reference Numbers) in sync with the process.
3.The technology and infrastructure advancements FloBiz uses to enhance products and services for external customers?
myBillBook- is a one-stop solution that helps SMBs create professional invoices (GST and non-GST), manage stock, collect payments and automate reminders through smart banking, and generate more than 25 business reports like GSTR, stock and sale summary, party ledger, etc. It helps SMBs digitize their invoicing, streamline business accounting and automate the workflows of their enterprises.
Currently, the app is available in four languages — English, Hindi, Gujarati, and Tamil. In the coming months, we plan to make the product available in six more languages, and also we will foray into the neo-banking space with integrated banking, payments, and tailored financial services.
We have a very strong user research process & feedback cycle. It helps us stay at the top of the ever evolving use cases & to keep our users delighted and also improve their business performance through digitisation. Some technology differentiators which helped us score high versus legacy billing and accounting softwares are:
– Providing a SaaS (Software as a Service) offering with real time cloud storage
– Users can work on our mobile app or native desktop or web-app with a real-time sync
– No downtimes due to state of art engineering and technology infrastructure
– Available on Android as well as iOS
– Light size app which can be used on basic smartphones as well
– Holistic billing module including GST, Non GST billis, e-invoicing, e-way bills, delivery challans, POS billing
– Intuitive user interface with no financial jargon makes the application usable for everyone
– ISO Certification & data privacy standards
4.How pandemics boosted the need for the country to go digital and the challenges it brings and how is FinTech placed to solve for them?
In recent times, technology has paved the way for automation and transformation in the financial services industry in India. Advancements within the fintech space significantly foster innovation and power financial institutions to offer digital services and retain relevance in the market.
The fintech segment alone is projected to grow to $150-160 billion by 2025 and has enormous growth potential.
To put it simply, this amalgamation of finance and technology in recent times has encompassed all kinds of technology leveraged with finance to service both – businesses and consumers.
Fintech in India is well past its infancy in terms of acceptance and growth within the financial services sector and the masses. This can be attributed to the increasing penetration of smartphones and the internet because of pandemic-led consequences. A lot of exciting things are happening in the Fintech space and facilities like auto payment, BNPL, payment aggregation, lending platforms, rewards-points-based payment methods, neo-banking operations, and many such things are becoming real. FinTechs are poised to be the medium between consumers and such upcoming trends disrupting the sector. Additionally, they help SMBs/MSMEs/uninitiated consumers come into the financial credit realm. The space is exciting and ripe for more action. All the stakeholders need to come together to work towards developing standard procedures of operations in the industry benefiting the end customer.
5.How do FinTech platforms like FloBiz abide by data storage and data-privacy standards for customers?
myBillBook is a ISO Certified product. It offers incredible flexibility to manage complex data challenges. The document model allows us to make changes and add new integrations quickly and easily. Our systems have the best-in-class security, management tooling, and monitoring built in, so developers didn’t have to spend time managing and securing the data layer. myBillBook team also provides the customers with a rich and fully featured mobile application. It is effortless to sync data between the mobile device itself and the backend database. This meant that even if multiple users were using the same account, going offline and online, there would be no issues, duplications, or data loss.
The biggest advantage our platform has is coming together of all the services in one unified data layer. With a single interface, developer language, and set of APIs, the team could build and maintain the entire myBillbook offering. The platform even includes native data visualization, which the team uses to visualize the deployment and monitor data.
Having all that functionality in a single unified database was incredibly important for us. It saved us from dealing with the complexity of managing all those different systems and we had a single source of truth. This has made us way more productive. We’ve sped up our development time and it will give us huge opportunities as we start to do more with our data.