UK businesses predicting growth superbloom post-pandemic but finance teams need to catch up

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Soldo is a pay and spend automation platform that combines smart company cards, issued by Mastercard with comprehensive management software. The UK fintech had published a new report looking at the anticipated post-pandemic boom for UK business and the challenges/opportunities this presents for finance teams.

UK SMEs prioritise growth

The report reveals that almost 70 percent of UK SMEs are prioritising growth in the next 12 months. Of this, 44 percent said that their strategy will be to raise new capital, and the rest want to acquire businesses through mergers and acquisitions.

However, for businesses to truly capitalise on this period of renewed optimism, finance teams that are leading this charge have to be agents of change, thereby driving the agility and innovation throughout the business.

Josh Bell, General Partner at Dawn Capital said: “For businesses aiming to get back on the growth track following the pandemic, either by raising capital or acquiring businesses, first and foremost they need all financial confusion simplified – whether it is budgets, credit cards, expense report – to focus on what is important elsewhere in the business. Another key challenge is working out how to spend money for growth wisely. The biggest challenge we see is where companies raise huge sums of money and then don’t spend it appropriately on vital ingredients such as talent and then can’t deliver on the growth side.”

Demonstrating the long-term operational changes brought about by the pandemic, 77 percent of finance leaders say they are planning more frequently, with 73 percent saying these plans are now more forward looking, emphasising the need for a holistic view of spending across businesses.

Claire Wain, CFO at Monsoon and Accessorize said: “We are having to be a bit more robust in the way that we measure what we’re doing, to try and isolate where the performance is coming from. We’re having to forecast much more regularly to keep on top of that performance, and really try and isolate where the benefits are coming from.”

Finance teams focus on investments

Furthermore, the report highlights that 72 percent believe greater visibility, control and oversight across expenditure has a positive impact on revenue growth. To achieve this, finance teams are turning to investments in technology, and specifically automation tools. Notably, 66 percent cited investments in IT tech and automation as key drivers of profitability while 74 percent have invested in automation to manage employee expenses, and 71 percent have done so to manage marketing and advertising expenses.

Also, they did not fail to recognise that the challenges to growth cannot be solved by technology alone. As much as 60 percent of the finance leaders cited a lack of effective communication within an organisation as a key barrier to success. Moreover, 64 percent stated that they need to improve communication and collaboration with their company’s executive team.

Mariano Dima, President of Soldo said: “With so many UK SMEs gearing towards growth, the pressure is on finance teams to deliver a holistic view of spending, control costs and implement systems that provide the business with a level of data insight that is essential to driving growth – in whichever format that takes. But without the right tools in place, finance teams will undoubtedly be wasting precious time that could be better spent on initiatives that aid strategic growth.”

Besides these, the research found that only 30 percent of UK businesses plan to give employees more flexibility when it comes to expenses. But this is not surprising as many are still operating with manual systems that cannot track spending in real-time.