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UK’S SMALL FIRMS EMBRACE THE APP ECONOMY

Global study finds UK companies leading the US in using apps to run their business

Nearly three quarters (71%) of UK small business owners rely on mobile or web-based applications to run their operations, eliminate administrative tasks and grow their business. Those are among the findings of a new global study byIntuit QuickBooks, the world’s number one online accounting software.

The study of 2,000 small business owners and managers in four key markets – UK, Australia, Canada and US – also revealed that tech-savvy Brits are leading their US counterparts (59%) in using apps to run their business, but are trailing Australian SMEs (74%).

With controlling costs and expenses revealed as the number one pain point for small businesses in the UK (44%), the most popular applications being taken up are banking / finance (59%), payments (49%) and payroll management (37%). Other top challenges facing small companies include dealing with the competition (31%) and retaining current customers (30%).

“More small firms than ever are putting technology at the heart of their business and using it to solve everyday problems. British entrepreneurs are ahead of a trend that is happening on a global scale,” said Dominic Allon, Europe VP and Managing Director, Intuit QuickBooks. “Small firms are well known for their creativity in how they grow their business; using digital tools to tackle their challenges head-on is key to their success.”

Making good app decisions 

The study also shows that small business owners are choosing apps which will impact the bottom line. In the UK, 48% of those using apps judge the apps’ success on whether it will increase their revenue, and two thirds (66%) also realise the value in connecting data from different apps.

Beyond the business impact, ease of use (57%) and security (55%) are the top considerations in choosing an app, while privacy and security (38%) and cost (27%) are most important to building trust.

While tech-savvy businesses are integrating apps in record numbers, they are also running into persistent barriers.Two in five (40%) UK small business owners using apps believe there are too many apps to choose from and are unsure of which are best suited for their business. Thirty-eight percent are concerned with costs to integrate and train on apps, and complexity was an issue for 22%.

Allon continued: “Applications are transforming the way small businesses operate in the UK, but choosing the right technologies for their needs is crucial. Business owners must start with identifying their biggest challenges, whether that’s controlling costs or finding good employees, and look for apps that seamlessly integrate to get the most value from their investments.”