Every Wednesday, we delve into the latest fintech updates from across the UK. This week brings updates from Zoho, Aurum Solutions, Ryft, Smart Money People and Capital on Tap.
UK businesses stay concerned about inflation
Around 39 per cent of UK businesses cited high inflation as a top concern beyond their control, according to the Digital Health Study by Zoho, the global tech company.
Feeling the impact of inflation, 68 per cent of UK businesses surveyed have limited technology investment this year due to the Bank of England’s rising interest rates. Despite this, businesses still appear to plan to invest in areas such as CX, employee experience (EX), AI and data privacy.
Sachin Agrawal, managing director at Zoho UK, commented: “Business confidence has taken a beating over the past few years, so it is no surprise that many are still concerned about the stability of the UK economy.
“Quite rightly many are looking to future-proof their businesses against the economic permacrisis which continues to create turbulence. It is interesting to see priorities shifting around technology and data privacy as businesses focus on becoming more resilient. Companies that invest in the right technology will enjoy a strong return on investment while those who ignore the importance of digital transformations will risk becoming stagnant.”
CFOS concerned about digital acceleration
Up to 80 per cent of CFOs and senior finance professionals are apprehensive about the pace of digital acceleration, with 42 per cent indicating they are ‘very concerned’; reconciliation software specialists, Aurum Solutions has revealed. These findings emphasise the pressing need for finance departments to address apprehensions and develop comprehensive strategies to navigate the evolving digital landscape effectively.
While 34 per cent view digital acceleration as an opportunity if approached cautiously, 25 per cent emphasise its immediate importance in gaining a competitive edge. Furthermore, 13 per cent believe they’ve reached a saturation point in reaping benefits, signalling the need for tailored approaches to address varying needs within finance departments.
Tiago Veiga, CEO of Aurum Solutions, explains: “These comprehensive insights from the survey highlight the intricate landscape of concerns, perspectives, and expectations surrounding digital acceleration, AI integration, and political support for fintech among CFOs and senior finance teams. Understanding these sentiments is pivotal for financial departments and policymakers to navigate challenges and capitalise on opportunities in the rapidly evolving technological landscape.”
Ryft bags innovation grant
Ryft, the PSD2-compliant payments provider, announces that it has obtained a grant from Innovate UK under the ‘Innovation within Professional and Financial Services’ tender.
The achievement follows a 300 per cent growth rate for the Manchester-based payment provider in 2023, and sees itself part of the top eight per cent of businesses that applied and received funding from the scheme.
Sadra Hosseini, founder and CEO of Ryft, commented: “Following an extremely complex application process, we are delighted to have been awarded a portion of the Innovate UK grant for professional and financial services. This grant allows us to take the next steps towards expansion into new markets, where we feel Ryft will make a real improvement to the existing payment platform offerings available. We’re looking forward to growing our team, whilst building upon the current functionalities our merchants rely on in their everyday transactions.”
Smart Money People reveals fairest UK banks
Chase Bank, Triodos Bank, and Starling Bank have emerged as the most highly rated banks for treating customers fairly in 2023; based on over 50,000 reviews left by the customers of UK banks on the financial services review site, Smart Money People between January and December 2023.
The top six banks and their respective scores were: Chase Bank (99.32); Triodos Bank (98.97); Starling Bank (98.60); Monzo (98.34); Metro Bank (98.33); NatWest (96.84); Atom Bank (96.30); first direct(94.06); Halifax (79.93) and Santander (79.34).
Jacqueline Dewey, CEO of Smart Money People, explains why consumers should be happy to change providers if they do not receive the level of service they expect: “The inertia around swapping bank accounts is widely known so we hope that by producing this list, more people will be encouraged to consider switching if they’re dissatisfied or their current provider no longer meets their needs.
“It’s important to look beyond initial introductory offers or incentives and understand a provider’s service, how they communicate and how they respond if there’s an issue or problem.”
Retailers hit hardest by unpaid invoices
Businesses in the UK are currently waiting on £7.4billion in overdue invoices. However, a new study by Capital on Tap has revealed that the impact of unpaid invoices varies significantly across different industries.
Retailers are currently most affected, with businesses in this industry facing around £1,532 worth of unpaid invoices. In second place are those in the electrical services sector, with businesses waiting for £1,501, on average. Businesses in the industrial equipment sector have come in third, with owners suggesting around £1,451 are wrapped up in unpaid invoices.
Alex Miles, UK Managing Director at Capital on Tap, offers some advice: “Dealing with late payments can be stressful, and asking for money from a customer can also be a little uncomfortable. There are a few simple steps you can take though, to try and successfully resolve the problem.
“It’s not rude to chase your invoices. In the first instance of a late payment, send your customer an email to check if there’s been a problem with processing, remind them it’s overdue, and ask when you can expect to be paid. If this doesn’t work, then give them a call. It’s harder for a customer to ignore you on the phone.”