A new fintech startup has joined the scene and is the latest looking to take on the traditional high street banks by launching a current account, but with a twist.
Coconut is aimed squarely at freelancers, consultants and the self-employed, promising to help them keep on top of their finances with innovative features. That incudes telling users how much tax they owe at any given time and when they need to pay and an easy way of managing expenses, as well being able to keep close track of payments from clients.
Nearly five million people in the UK are self-employed, according to the latest official jobs figures.
"The growth of self-employment in the UK is one of the biggest structural changes in our workforce of our time, but self-employed people are still one of the most underserved groups of businesses when it comes to banking products and services that meet their specific needs," said co-founder and chief executive Sam O'Conner.
“Staying on top of tax and expenses, getting paid on-time or managing an unpredictable flow of income is a big worry and time-suck for customers. And this is only going to become a bigger burden with Making Tax Digital requiring digital tax submissions quarterly instead of annually. We created Coconut to sort out these challenges for freelancers and we ultimately aim to eliminate the need for tax returns, removing a huge amount of stress for business owners.”
The account is free, with extra features such as managing VAT and being able to share information with accountants coming with a premium version priced at £4.95 per month.
The Making Tax Digital initiative will start rolling out from April 2019. The deadline for filing tax returns online is today. Last year 840,000 people filed them late with charges of £84m being incurred by the tardy.
Coconut was founded by O'Conner and Adam Goodall, both serial entrepreneurs, in 2016 and had previously gone by the name Monizo. It was part of the Barclays Techstars accelerator.