Members of the UK200Group discuss the impact technology will have on businesses in 2016
Members of the UK200Group of independent accountancy and law firms have commented on new research from Barclays which shows that SMEs think technology will be the biggest driver in growth in 2016.
The bank’s study has revealed that more than a third of SMEs (39%) UK’s SMEs believe that the availability of better technology will be the most important contributor for business growth in 2016.
The survey also revealed that consumer demand will be vital to accelerate growth, although this fell from first to second most influential factor with a net score of 32%.
The other key factors that SMEs believe will have a net positive impact on growth in 2016 include international markets and opportunities overseas (25%), a move to online or improvements in digital presence (23%), and major sporting and cultural events (10%).
When it comes to the factors expected to hinder growth in 2016, extreme weather takes the top spot, with 23% of SMEs surveyed believing it could have a negative impact on their business in the year to come. Money or funding constraints (20%) as well as competition among similar businesses (18%) are also concerns for the year ahead.
Duncan Montgomery, tax partner at UK200Group member firm Whittingham Riddell, said:
“New technology is fundamental to many businesses and better processes can allow for big increases in turnover without adding staff cost and training time on expansion.
“Where SMEs occasionally fall down is where new technology is introduced without having enough people fully engaged in the tech to ensure it adds value rather than frustration. Investing properly in training and ensuring that key departments have strong IT individuals is often key to success.”
Jonathan Russell, partner at UK200Group member firm ReesRussell, said:
“Technology, or at least the use of technological advances, is an area where many small businesses are looking to take their businesses forward. However, aside from those businesses which are in the technology sector, the big driver is competitiveness.
“There remains a huge concern about the lack of demand across the board and therefore we are still seeing businesses chasing the same customers rather than finding new ones. Businesses have got to find new ways of attracting those customers. In an continuingly cash stretched economy, price is becoming or remaining a prime driver and efficiency gain, which a business can make through better use of technology in order to become more competitive, is a must.
“The further use of technology to get in front of customers and making the sales process easier is also a big driver. It is unlikely that the world is suddenly going to find a new supply of money now credit taps remain firmly shut. Businesses, both large and small, must use every avenue open to them to secure that sale.”