Following Liz Truss‘ resignation and Rishi Sunak‘s appointment as prime minister, businesses cannot expect a new PM to solve their problems overnight. Rampant inflation, a looming recession, supply chain troubles, and an energy crisis, are all a threat to UK organisations, who must take matters into their own hands.
Startups and businesses are facing tough decisions in the coming months, but Freddie Digby, CCO of Adsum, argues that businesses shouldn’t pause their digitalisation journey; in fact, it should be the last thing to be cut.
Adsum solves cashflow headaches by calculating the value of businesses’ tax receivables in real-time and advancing the cash when needed, up to a year ahead of when HMRC will pay out. As tax credit experts and an HMRC accredited tax agent, Adsum’s technology computes the value of companies’ tax credits and completes all compliance. This saves time, professional fees, and futureproofs cashflow.
In addition to noting how artificial intelligence, machine learning and internet of things (IoT) tech can all be used to reduce energy consumption, Digby also discusses the importance of AltFi and fintechs for keeping cashflow positive and diversification as a tool for overcoming supply chain issues:
UK businesses face not only political uncertainty as a new PM, Rishi Sunak, is selected and learns the ropes of his new office, but also an economic quagmire, recession, inflation, and a shrinking pool of investment capital. This has led to a ‘cost of doing business’ crisis – which is expected to take the life of many firms in the coming months.
Spending may have to be cut, but it would be short-sighted to reduce spending on tech – as digital transformation is and has always been a lifeline, and one that has traditionally held back British businesses in terms of productivity. This is something that the pandemic highlighted clearly: the businesses that adapted quickly with the help of new technologies survived and thrived.
Cash flow is key
With reduced consumer confidence and some businesses having to reduce investment, organisations will have to make sure their cash flow is as secure and consistent as possible to keep heads above water. Here, ‘alternative finance’ (Alt-Fi) and fintechs can help – as a myriad of innovative new players have entered the market in the last few years with some truly revolutionary offerings.
Some fintechs have developed technologies that can calculate the money owed to businesses in a refund position from HMRC.
Receiving this money earlier than expected, often in as little as 24 hours, rather than waiting months for a delayed HMRC to pay, could be a vital lifeline for businesses. The benefit here is not just having a new lost-cost avenue for financing, but also to know exactly how much you are due in refunds from your investments.
Automatic invoicing is another key tool that businesses should adopt if they haven’t already. Late payments still plague the UK, despite pandemic protection measures now being long gone. There are businesses which have developed automatic invoicing tools as well as access to the payment history of potential customers, to allow businesses to automate the process. This means no more wasted time chasing tardy customers, and a better chance people will pay sooner.
Using energy more effectively
A recent study by the University of York yielded bleak results, predicting that two-thirds of all UK households will be trapped in fuel poverty by January. Businesses face the same issue – and may have to make tough decisions like reducing opening hours to save costs.
Technology can’t make this issue disappear; however, it can help businesses consume energy more efficiently. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and IoT can help premises understand where and when they can reduce energy consumption and ultimately make better, more informed facilities management decisions.
‘Smart buildings’, thanks to IoT, do just that – and allow for real-time insight and analysis into things like energy use, temperature, and the movement of customers and staff. Thanks to tech like this, research predicts that IoT operations will have eliminated one gigaton of CO2 emissions by 2030.
A more critical eye over stock and supply chains
Supply chains have gone through a myriad of disruptions over the last few years – from covid lockdowns in Chinese tech-exporting cities to Brexit trade and employment barriers. These are not easy to overcome, but through supply chain diversification, moving manufacturing bases closer to home to avoid delays or insecurities, and a more critical eye over stock levels and upselling, businesses can keep supply as stable as possible.
Tech isn’t just to survive, it is to thrive
The UK will face these structural challenges as these problems are truly international and inter-industry. Yet, that doesn’t mean nothing can be done to help. Here, apathy will be a death sentence, and businesses must move quickly to ensure success.
Those that do will find themselves a better, more productive, and more profitable business when and if the British economy returns to a more stable and positive outlook.