Each week The Fintech Times takes a look at the top stories in fintech in the UK. In this weeks news; the UK is the best European country to start a business in, a third of the UK finance industry says mental health is not a cultural priority and Brits are hesitant to join the property ladder.
The UK is the best European country to start a business in
Tide research has found that the UK is the best European country to start a business in. The research collated data on 10 criteria points, including GDP; tax revenue; unemployment rate; market cap of listed companies; number of start-up procedures; cost of start-up procedures; time required to start a business; new business density; ease of doing business score; and gender pay gap.
Performing well across several categories, the UK was found to be the best country to start a business in overall and was followed by Ireland, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Estonia, which made up the remainder of the top 5.
Liza Haskell, Chief Administrative Officer at Tide said: ““While it is certainly possible to start a business in most countries, some countries are more inviting than others. The commercial hurdles manifest in different ways, including things like high tax rates, expensive start-up fees, and slow-moving business creation processes. Other factors to consider are unemployment rates, the saturation of new businesses, the ease of doing business, and the level of gender pay equality. These are all values that can indicate the health of an economy, the prospects for your company, and the cultural values and norms that you will operate within”.
UK consumers remain cautious about the return to normality for stores and venues
Research published by specialised payments platform Paysafe revealed that 54% of UK consumers say they don’t plan on shopping in stores as frequently as pre-pandemic. With 42% of respondents planning to shop in stores less, and a further 11% to shop online only, offline businesses need to be mindful of new consumer preferences and behaviours and understand how they should adapt for future success.
Paysafe’s Lost in Transaction consumer payment trends research was conducted by Sapio Research and includes survey insights from 1,000 UK consumers on their expected payments and lifestyle habits post-COVID-19. In their bid to encourage customers back in person, the research pointed to a number of focus areas for businesses, including the safety of the checkout experience. This is something consumers have paid close attention to during the pandemic, with over two-fifths (44%) of respondents agreeing that it was noticeable which in-store retailers had adjusted their checkout experience and the same number saying they were less likely to shop in stores that hadn’t done so. Checkout speeds also being prioritised by UK consumers, with 38% seeing this as a more important factor to them than pre-COVID. According to the findings, another area businesses need to focus on is continuing to diversify their payment options and increase awareness of those already available
Danny Chazonoff, Chief Operating Officer at Paysafe, commented: “As UK restrictions continue to lift and consumers adjust to new freedoms, the climate remains uncertain for businesses and retailers. While there are differing schools of thought on whether we’ll see a resurgence quite on the same level as the Roaring 20s, our research points to consumer behaviour changing for good and business strategies will need to align with these new preferences. Going forward, for businesses to remain competitive, they need to reassess their priorities – two of which will be diversifying payment offerings and maintaining the delivery of a seamless and frictionless checkout.”
Brits are hesitant to join the property ladder
Whilst the economy is slowly reopening, and the property market is expected to get hotter, a countrywide survey has revealed Brits are hesitant about getting a new home anytime soon.
Money.co.uk surveyed 2,108 people across the UK about their intentions of buying a property in the next month. They found that ‘hassle’ is one of the main barriers preventing Brits from moving up the property ladder or buying their first home.
In fact, 22% of people (a 4% increase from the previous month) said ‘faff’ is a big reason they are holding off on getting a new home. This overtakes financial considerations such as having too many outgoings and interest rates.
Whilst 22% of Brits don’t want to invest in the long homebuying process, the main reason preventing people from purchasing a home is due to ‘earnings’ with 31% of people saying they don’t make enough money to do so. This is followed up by deposit and mortgage availability in second and third place respectively.
NHS Wales saves £25 million through accounts payable forensics solution
NHS Wales created a Shared Services organisation which embarked on a major AP transformation, resulting in the creation of two service centres servicing four NHS trusts and seven health boards. This ambitious undertaking established an Accounts Payable function that handles 1,800,000 transactions totalling approx. £4.6 billion spend per annum.
NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership (NWSSP) has 120 Accounts Payable (AP) team members who process transactions on behalf of eleven business units, each of which retains their procurement independence. NWSSP embarked on its transformation programme in the full knowledge it had significant issues with incorrect invoices.
Adopting FISCAL’s solution has highlighted duplicate and unused records for action in the MSF, which if left unchanged were a fraud risk. It has also ensured that all eleven business units score well in payment performance tests. Satisfied with the strong controls and visibility in place, NWSSP’s internal audit department is confident that there is now good governance, now receives Substantial Assurance in relation to duplicate payments.
Regional AP Manager at NHS Wales remarks: “We’ve not only reduced costs but have changed the way the shared service finance function is perceived across the business. Using AP Forensics, we’ve been able to elevate the AP function to the boardroom.”
Over one-third of organisations in the UK finance industry say mental health is not a cultural priority
Koa Health, a digital mental healthcare provider offering integrated and evidence-based solutions to employers, has shared data exposing the impact of COVID-19 on mental health in the finance industry across the UK and organisations’ response to the crisis.
According to a survey of over 500 HR Managers in companies of 250+ employees, at the onset of COVID-19, almost nine in ten (86%) organisations in the UK finance industry experienced an increase in demand for mental health support. This increase was higher than any other sector investigated, and 30% points higher than the UK average (56%).
Despite increasing demand and mental health support provision, mental health and wellbeing is still not fully embedded into business culture. Over one third (36%) of companies in the UK finance industry agree that culturally mental health is not a priority within their organisation.
Dr. Oliver Harrison, CEO of Koa Health, said “HR Managers in the finance industry have taken promising early steps to protect the mental wellbeing of their employees. However, it is concerning that with such a high demand for additional support, many financial services organisations still do not see mental health as a cultural priority at their organisation. As UK employees consider returning to the office, the finance industry must continue to build on the progress it has made in response to the pandemic.”