At this time of all times, it practically goes without saying that SMEs up and down the UK will be investigating all the means by which they can ‘bounce back’ after the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, the cloud accounting platform Xero has weighed in with new research indicating that such firms could reap major benefits for their recovery by making the most of the latest digital tools.
The bookkeeping giant has released a report entitled The future of small business: five opportunities for growth in 2021, looking ahead to UK SMEs’ prospects after the multiple coronavirus lockdowns.
In it, the company details the findings of a survey of 500 small business owners and 2,000 customers. The document reveals, for example, a significant shift among customers towards supporting small firms, with 49% feeling greater loyalty to local businesses over larger corporate entities since the onset of the pandemic, and 42% of consumers intending to spend more money at local businesses once lockdown is over.
SMEs urged to act now to take advantage of heightened consumer spending
Such increasing interest in what small firms have to offer presents the latter with a must-not-miss opportunity in the months ahead, to connect with customers and cultivate the relationships with them that it is often difficult for much bigger companies to replicate.
£18.5bn of accumulated household savings in January alone indicates that customer spending could be about to shoot up once restrictions are lifted.
In the words of Xero’s UK and EMEA managing director Gary Turner: “The advantage small firms have is public affection and being better acquainted with their customers. The economic damage wrought by COVID-19 continues to be devastating, so it’s crucial SMEs know how to tap into this human aspect.
“After so long without social contact, we’ll see a resurgence in the lost art of loyalty. There may also be some old processes SMEs are happy to banish in favour of new technology to put them firmly in control of their business.”
Signs that businesses are taking the potential of digital seriously
Xero research has suggested that if the 1.1 million micro-businesses around the UK doubled their uptake of key digital technologies, a £16.6 billion boost to the economy could result.
And it seems that micro and small businesses have already begun to extract the potential of digital solutions for improving productivity. 26% of them, for instance, have invested in cloud technology to help their workers get more out of lockdown, while 31% have stopped using paper invoices and 26% have entirely ceased the use of paper payslips.
17% of small firms, meanwhile, have swapped desktop accounting software for cloud tools. This is a trend that we can certainly understand here at Britebooks. Indeed, our acclaimed bookkeeping service in Wellington and Plymouth is very much geared towards helping firms to tap into the cloud bookkeeping revolution, including by transitioning them to Xero or QuickBooks if they are not yet using either of these highly regarded platforms.
As Xero’s Gary Turner has observed: “Technology has a critical role to play in helping firms get, sell and operate online, adjust to changing consumer needs, and free them up to focus on building relationships with customers. As lockdown ends, closing the digital divide will be essential.”
Here at Britebooks, we can scarcely disagree. That’s why we would urge those interested in an up-to-the-minute cloud bookkeeping service in Wellington or Plymouth to reach out to us, whether via phone or email, to find out more about how we could assist them in their own post-pandemic recovery in 2021.
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