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Top tech stats: FinTech, drones, SME taxes & more

Welcome to your roundup of some of the past week’s most interesting surveys, statistics and reports relevant to those involved in the UK tech industry.

This week, we have statistics covering FinTech, drones and UK taxes following the news of the tax ruling against Apple.

FinTech challenge

New research from Robert Half Financial Services has revealed over half (54%) of financial services firms are increasing investment in disruptive and innovative technologies over the next 12 months. This is to meet the challenge proposed by new market entrants

The survey also indicated that online investment firms (26%) and challenger banks (24%) are considered the new market entrants to cause the most disruption to traditional financial services firms in the next 12 months.

Of the 100 executives in the financial services industry surveyed, 91% are concerned the growth of the FinTech sector will negatively impact their ability to attract skilled professionals with relevant sector experience. 35% of individuals indicated they were ‘very concerned’.

Some 85% of executives also expressed that they were nervous about their ability to retain their own talent in the face of emerging FinTech competition.

Luke Davis, vice president at Robert Half Financial Services UK, said: “Digital transformation plans are ramping up among both the front and corporate offices of financial services firms, largely the result of competition from the FinTech industry. This reaction is seeing established firms review their traditional models to offer customers, clients and employees new services using innovative technologies.

“Financial services professionals with experience of managing digital projects, such as enhancing the customer experience through digital technologies for mobile, tablets and wearable devices are in hot demand, particularly for interim roles, as firms seek to create digital solutions that are both innovative and compliant.”

Drones – boosting the UK economy?

Research by Drones Direct has revealed that 586,430 Britons have used drones for commercial purposes.

The UK Drone Usage Report 2016 also outlined the usage of drones by industry. Media came top with 63% of respondents saying they had used drones, most commonly for aerial photography and videography.

Drone usage figures in other industries were found to be: facilities management firms (39%), oil and utilities companies (34%), agriculture (18%), construction (17%), and surveillance (32%). The UK fire and police services have also started to incorporate drone technology into rescue operations.

Tim Morley, category manager at Drones Direct, said: “It’s great to see businesses incorporating drones into their day-to-day practices to not only make processes simpler and more efficient, but also offer new services.

“Drones are already being used around the world for deliveries of consumer products, providing humanitarian aid, and security – with support from the CAA, Britain can be at the forefront of the development for business and industry. continued aerial technology development.”

Catch up

UK law firm TLT’s Digital Banking report found that online banking (62%), in-branch technology (42%) and improving or replacing existing IT systems (39%) were the top priorities for increased spend on technology.

The report also indicated that driving those priorities is the need to generate new business (86%), reduce costs (82%) and improve security (78%).  Increasing customer loyalty through technology is also a key priority (73%).

Some 55% of those surveyed also said they were more likely to invest in technologies endorsed by regulatory authorities.

James Touzel, head of technology at TLT, said: “Our survey shows a determination to accelerate the pace of change to digital banking services and a growing convergence between financial institutions and developers.

“Banks are typically looking outside of their organisations for innovative technologies to develop, with nearly half reporting collaborations with fintech start-ups and around a third working with outside consultants. This approach will be central to banks evolution from mere holders of money, to advisers on managing it and aggregators of other services.”

Access to justice

Research commissioned by online dispute resolution platform Ajuve revealed nearly half (44%) of British startups and SMEs have opted out of making a claim when they’ve had a legitimate grievance.

The survey of 500 startup and small business owners also found lack of time (43%) and money (41%) were cited as the main reasons for not taking legal action when faced with a commercial dispute. The awkwardness of dealing with the other party (35%) was another key concern.

Some 39% also admitted to not putting practices in place for potential small claims disputes.

When asked about the current claims procedure, 65% of business owners said it is outdated, and 58% thought it should take six weeks or less for a claim to be determined.

Alex Bargate, co-founder of Ajuve, said: “Our research highlights just how unmanageable the small claims process has become for startups and SMEs, leaving many unable to afford the huge sums of time and money involved with pursuing a claim.

It’s time for the court system to provide a service that is simple, efficient and accessible for everyone.”

Apple tax response

New research from FreeAgent has revealed that 71% of SMEs feel big businesses benefit from the tax system more than smaller companies.SME raw deal

Ed Molyneux, CEO and co-founder of FreeAgent, commented: “The European Commission’s decision will be welcome news for freelancers and micro-businesses – many of whom feel that they are getting a raw deal when it comes to paying tax.

“We recently carried out research that found seven in ten (71%) UK micro-business owners in the UK felt that larger businesses benefited more from the tax system than they did. Projected across the UK’s 5.2 million-strong micro-businesses sector, which accounts for 95% of all businesses, that equates to millions of self-employed people who view the tax system with a sense of injustice.”

That’s all for this week! To check out previous instalments of our tech stats series click here!