Marathon Sevilla

Marathon Sevilla

That medal is mine! I ran the Seville marathon! The full 42.2km long!

It was enjoyable until km 21…after that I had to fight with myself, against the pain and the fatigue. What was my ultimate motivation? I got excited with the thought that every kilometer I ran there was one closer to that medal…step by step.

Read in my previous blog how I prepared myself for this.

https://www.toco.eu/blog/the-road-to-doing-business-through-sports/

Veroniek

The road to doing business through sports

Marathon-stress!

I’ll be in Seville on February 23rd. To run the marathon – at least that’s the intention…The last few days I mainly feel fear of failure…months of preparation seem to have been for nothing…legs are blocking, muscles hurt, I don’t speed up anymore and I only have an eye for things that can go wrong.

So now it’s time to start believing in myself again! Storms like Ciara or Dennis couldn’t stop me. I can do this!

Good preparation is half the work

Running a marathon is a process and that process started about 3 months ago. Both body and mind have been trained for that one moment (although that one ‘moment’ is expected to last 4,5 hours   ). Running the marathon is the ‘reward’ for the hard work that has been done. And that it’s hard work, I can assure you! This is how I handled it:

  • Help from a coach

A training schedule works for me. Based on a fitness test, I had a training schedule drawn up at Energylab. The plan is based on my ability and I carry it out. 4 days a week. Without thinking about it.

  • Measuring is knowing – working towards a goal

Carrying out a training course is fun, but even more fun is keeping track of everything, seeing progress in numbers and getting “kudos” from fellow athletes in between. The last three months looked like this – according to Strava:

  • Setting priorities and growing character

Managing the agenda and scheduling training is a challenge. It takes character to put on your running shoes at night and brave the winter rain and wind for an hour.

  • Support from friends and colleagues

Running with an adapted training schedule is lonely. Luckily, I could count on a good friend to accompany me on the longer endurance runs. When I planned a training session at noon, the colleagues run with me enthusiastically. Thank you! You made those 54 hours a lot more enjoyable! 🙏

The reward

No matter how February 23rd goes – fast or slow, with or without a medal – the reward is already in. Despite the fear that occasionally overwhelms me, I feel strong and resilient: the mind is stronger than the body… And that feeling doesn’t only come in handy when exercising. It also helps to endure the rollercoaster of doing business. In any case, the 8 phases of a marathon are very similar to life as an entrepreneur   :

8 stages of marathon running

  • phase 1: excitement
  • phase 2: denial
  • phase 3: shock
  • phase 4: isolation
  • phase 5: despair
  • phase 6: ‘the wall’
  • phase 7: confirmation
  • phase 8: elation phase

So I’m confident I’ll get to Phase 8 on February 23rd! 🚀

What are your tips for getting through phase 3 to 6 – as an entrepreneur or as an athlete?

Veroniek

How do we securely handle your consent to execute payments on your bank account?

How do we securely handle your consent to execute payments on your bank account?

Hi, my name is Sven Beauprez and I am responsible for all things technical of the TOCO Platform.

As you could read in previous blogs and will be able to read in future blogs, TOCO is meant to be your one stop shop for all you company administration, including payments without the need to go to your banking application. And this not only for Belgium, but throughout the whole European Union (and also UK). In this post I lift the corner of the veil on a part of security that is crucial for banking integrations, especially for payment initiation, and which was approved by the National Bank of Belgium (NBB) 

TOCO aggregates a lot of data from different systems, such as retrieving your accounting information from accounting software and your financial transactions from banks. At the same time, we upload data and trigger actions on those systems, such as uploading invoices ready to be processed by your accountant and payments to be processed by your bank.

All those integrations require an end-user consent and we need to make sure that you and only you are able to retrieve your data and you and only you can execute actions on your data (eg. pay with your bank account)

We only have deep integrations with external systems that can be setup securely. For banks, this is fine and most banks are ready to setup this integration (they have to, because of the European PSD2 directive). For accountancy systems, this is a different story. Not all those systems are ready for secure deep integrations. If you are an accountant, please contact our support team to know which accountancy software we support today and which packages are on the roadmap (we co-operate with a few of the vendors to make their software more secure).

For all supported deep integrations, we use the same high security standard, which means accountancy system integrations are on the same high security level as banking integrations. When an integration is setup with a bank for example, we need to get your consent to be able to read account information and to initiate a payment with your bank account. When you give us this consent, we get a unique key (token) for you from your bank to use in future conversations with your bank.

You can compare this key/token with a unique key to an office building. The owner of the key is known, and you can easily track when the owner has entered the building. This is also true for the consent token you gave us via your bank, when we use this token to initiate a payment on your account, every party knows exactly that you – and only you – initiated this payment on TOCO – and only on TOCO – and for that specific account – and only that account. TOCO receives consent tokens from a lot of different users, so we have to be very careful with what we do with those tokens.

Now a little bit more in depth technical on how we securely store this token in our backend. We use a vault in which tokens are stored encrypted. The encryption keys used to encrypt the token, are also encrypted with a master encryption key. The vault can only be unsealed via the master key. That’s already a lot of encryption, but it does not stop here!

The master encryption key, needed to access the vault data, is on its turn encrypted via a key management system (KMS)  and must be decrypted with the KMS. The KMS keeps cryptographic keys used for encrypting and decrypting data.

This is only tip of the iceberg on the security measures we took and our whole security setup was reviewed and approved by the National Bank of Belgium (NBB). Since day one in spring 2019, this setup has been put in place. Security is not an after thought at TOCO.

PSD2 gives you control over your financial data

PSD2 gives you control over your financial data

Hi, my name is Veroniek Willen and I'm responsible for Operations within TOCO.

Much has been said and written about PSD2 (Payment Service Directive). Certainly for your financial service providers, such as banks and bookkeepers, it has been a popular conversation topic for some time now. But what does it actually mean for you as an entrepreneur, now that the first applications of PSD2 are gradually being launched on the market? 

A framework for sharing financial data

PSD2 is a European regulation, and therefore applicable to all European banks.  The regulation obliges banks to open account information and payment initiation when you, as an account holder, give permission to do so.  You can only give this permission to parties who have a licence with the National Bank. This licence is only granted after a thorough examination of the internal organisation, compliance and IT security. The parties thus comply with strict conditions with regard to the security of your data.

Your financial administration becomes a lot more efficient

“Cash is King” goes the saying, meaning that your cash position should be the beating heart of your business. That’s easier said than done.

To do your administration, you typically use a digital archive where you collect all important documents (from purchase and sales invoices to company documents). If you want to make a payment or want to know whether a sales invoice has been paid, you consult your banking application(s).  And at the end of the quarter at the latest, you make sure that everything reaches the accountant.

Your financial data are scattered throughout your archive, your banking application and the bookkeeping. Anyone who has tried to make a cash or budget forecast knows how challenging it is to bring together data from these different sources.

With PSD2 it is not only possible to finally link your bank information to your documents, but also to make a payment directly from your documents. You can also share your bank details with your accountant, so that these data are also linked to your bookkeeping.

With TOCO, you don't have to wait for PSD2 - Centralise your financial administration right now.

PSD2 offers numerous advantages for you as an entrepreneur, but so far we have seen a slow adoption. Even though the legislation has been applicable since September 2019, few banks are ready to deliver qualitative data and the number of parties offering solutions is limited.

With TOCO, you can already enjoy the benefits awaiting PSD2.  The predecessor of PSD2 is CODA (coded daily statements) and these CODA files are usually already processed in your accounting system. With TOCO you can now consult CODA files yourself. This way you always have an overview of your cash position and bank transactions at a glance.

Payments of invoices can be made in TOCO by means of a QR code. This QR code works at KBC, Belfius and Bunq. This way you do not have to type over all the payment details of your invoice into your banking application.

What’s more, you can easily forward your documents to your accountant so that your bookkeeping is always up to date.

The advantages at a glance

  • PSD2 is a European regulation, and therefore applicable to all European banks.

  • As an entrepreneur, you give yourself permission to share your data

  • The parties with whom you share the data must have a licence from the National Bank. This means that they are thoroughly screened and comply with strict conditions regarding the security of your data.

  • Control over your financial data provides you with the following options:

    • Bring together your account information from different banks in a single tool, so that you maintain an overview of your cash position.

    • Link your documents to your bank transactions. This gives more context to your bank transactions and makes it easier for you to look them up later.

    • Pay your invoices easily and with one click, without having to switch to your banking application.

    • Share your documents and your bank details with your bookkeeper so that reconciliation in your bookkeeping can run smoothly.

With TOCO, you don’t have to wait for PSD2!

TOCO gives access to your CODA files and let you connect with your bookkeeper to make your administration more efficient already.

TOCO gives you peace of mind when it comes to your paperwork:

  • centralise your documents
  • pay for them with one click
  • and forward them to your accountant…all from one solution.

TOCO will be participating at #AllemaalDigitaal 2020 (Ghent)

TOCO will be participating at #AllemaalDigitaal 2020 (Ghent)

Hi, I am Olivier Constant, Chief Commercial Officer at TOCO.

I am delighted to announce that TOCO is exhibiting at #AllemaalDigitaal 2020 on 18 February 2020.

This event has a focus on helping accountants with their digital journey by gathering in one place several experts sharing their experience, takeaways and recommendations.

We, at TOCO, are at the heart of this digital journey since we aim to bring together connected accountants and their clients and enabling accountants to build a modern practice with maximum engagement of their clients.

Technology is transforming the accounting industry – over 50% of accountants now use cloud technology to serve their clients. But it can be tricky to engage your client with the apps that are helping them manage their finances. TOCO brings the answer.

TOCO is the first solution to provide additional value to the clients of accounting firms by automating his financial administration

  • TOCO connects accountants, their clients and bank transactions in 1 ecosystem

  • TOCO uses OCR technology to digitize client’s administration

  • TOCO creates a personal digital archive, approved by the NBB and FOD Financiën

  • TOCO offers instant and easy to use search and find features

  • TOCO replaces your online banking and lets you pay in 1 click by integrating the psd2 technology.

  • TOCO uses AI to optimize the data

  • TOCO automates the matching of payments with documents

  • TOCO is a communication tool between the accountant and his clients

Interested?

Want to know more or test it for free?

Just come and visit us at #AllemaalDigitaal 2020 or contact us on sales@toco.eu

Your accountant on TOCO or not, we’ll make it work!

Your accountant on TOCO or not, we'll make it work!

We just released a new version of TOCO where you can easily indicate your accountant and start collaborating.

Wether your accountant is on TOCO or not, we’ll make it work! 🤝

Hi, my name is Jonas, Lead Analyst of TOCO. As you could read in my previous blog, TOCO stands for Together Connected. The first and most important connection as an SME to smooth your financial administration, is the one with you accountant. We just released a new version of TOCO where you can easily indicate your accountant and start collaborating. Wether your accountant is on TOCO or not, we’ll make it work! 🤝

Indicate your accountant

As a first step TOCO needs to know who your accountant is before you can start collaborating. Go via the TOCO menu to Settings – Accounting where you can start the flow. As soon as you start typing the name or VAT number of your accountant, you will see suggestions of possible matches.
No worries, in order not to forget selecting your accountant, we’ll give you a hint above your Inbox.

From here on there are two possibilities: your accountant is on TOCO or not. When your accountant is on TOCO, there is a final approval of the accountant to accept you as Client. Once they accept, all is done and you can start sending documents from your TOCO Inbox to your accountant.

When your accountant is not yet on TOCO, you are asked to fill in your contact person details. You only need to fill in the name, e-mail and phone number. That’s it, all is set and done and you can now too send your documents from your TOCO Inbox to your accountant.

Accountant not on TOCO

As an accountant who is not yet on TOCO, you will receive an e-mail of the documents sent by the SME. This e-mail already indicates which document types and how many of them are transferred to you. The documents can be downloaded via a zip file, which will contain all documents grouped in folder per document type.

Do you want to optimize your flow as an accountant?
Start using TOCO Start for accountants for free!

Your banking transactions automatically available on the TOCO platform thanks to our integration with CodaBox

Your banking transactions automatically available on the TOCO platform thanks to our integration with CodaBox

Hi, I am Evelien, Product Owner on the TOCO Platform.

Having your own business, that means keeping your financial administration. For many a necessity and certainly not their favourite occupation. TOCO tries to support you every step of the way. We already explained how to upload invoices and we will soon discuss how to pay invoices, but today I would like to go deeper into how to retrieve your banking transactions and balances automatically.

The CodaBox integration

TOCO has a partnership with CodaBox. This has the great advantage that existing customers of CodaBox can consult their financial transactions on the TOCO platform.  How to activate this service?

Your accountant also works with TOCO

Often SMEs have taken out a CodaBox subscription via the bookkeeper. You give your mandate once and the accountant receives your banking transactions and balances from one or more bank accounts (even from different banks) directly from CodaBox. To make the financial transactions also available to you, the end-customer, on TOCO, your bookkeeper has to make the link between TOCO and his CodaBox subscription once. The steps are as follows:

  1. The bookkeeper asks CodaBox for a token (unique code to be used once) for the TOCO platform.

  2. The bookkeeper enters this token under the TOCO menu ‘Settings > Integrations > CodaBox’.

  3. Your account balances and transactions will be available as of the next business day (note: as soon as there is a new transaction)

Tip for the bookkeeper: activate this integration once and all your customers with a CodaBox subscription will receive their financial transactions on TOCO, it’s that simple!

Your bookkeeper does not (yet) work with TOCO

Too bad your accountant hasn’t discovered TOCO yet. It would be a pity that you wouldn’t be able to use your CodaBox subscription then, so we will make sure that you can request a token yourself from mid-February (provided you have an active subscription through your bookkeeper or directly) and have your banking transactions available on the TOCO platform. The steps are then as follows:

  1. Indicate that you want to request a token via the TOCO menu ‘Settings > Integrations > CodaBox’.

  2. We will forward your request to CodaBox and they will send a token to the email address they have on file.

  3. Enter the token under the TOCO menu ‘Settings > Integrations > CodaBox’.

  4. Your account balances and financial transactions will be available from the next business day (note: as soon as there is a new transaction).

Why are these financial transactions so important?

First of all because you can consult your account balances and your bank transactions at any time, but also because this is the beginning of the possibility to complete the circle of your financial administration. You have uploaded invoices on TOCO, you have paid them and by placing them next to your bank transactions you can see if any documents are missing for your bookkeeper, also called reconcile.  Ideal, because you no longer have to wait for your accountant to ask for those 1 or 2 missing invoices. More about this soon. For the time being, we have the balances and banking transactions of the last closed working day, but we are working hard on our PSD2 license.

PSD2?

In short: PSD2 is the new payment directive within the European Union that makes it possible for account holders to give other service providers than their bank, such as TOCO, access to their payment account. The big advantage: you do not always have to go to your bank portal to view transactions in real time or initiate payments. You can then really do all the steps of your financial administration on TOCO (collect, pay and reconcile documents). This is done under very strict conditions. As an account holder, you give your explicit permission (consent) to, for example, TOCO to retrieve your account information, to initiate payments or both.

 

Of course, these new services are fully regulated and, as a service provider, you must meet strict conditions in order to be able to offer these services. TOCO is therefore in the final stage of obtaining this licence from the National Bank of Belgium. We will keep you informed!