2017 in Review and Looking Forward to 2018

This is it! The end of 2017 has arrived and what an interesting year it has been, for Akoni, for business and for the country as a whole.

Brexit has been at the forefront of the news for the entire year and we imagine it will continue to be so for 2018. How could it not be? It is a huge change that this country is going through and nobody can tell what the results will bring for the economy and for the individual. Facing the unknown has never been an easy task for humanity and our instinctive reaction is often fear and despair. But like many times before, an uncertain future, involving hardship, has often resulted in greatness and prosperity. We are watching the developments closely, and in particular the decisions made that affect business.

While the majority of predictions about the UK’s prosperity in light of Brexit have been negative, business in the UK has continued to grow with the notorious entrepreneurial spirit of Britain not disappointing.

Below we go into more detail on:

  1. Some interesting and encouraging numbers on the UK economy relating to businesses
  2. An overview of Akoni’s successes this year – we have had an exciting year, which we are eager to tell you all about.
  3. Two focus areas for Akoni: Charities and UK Tech Start-ups
  4. Akoni’s insights for the year ahead

 

  1. 2017 for business:

 Although confidence levels among Britain’s SMEs has suffered amidst the Brexit turmoil, entrepreneurship has not suffered. In 2017 SMEs in the UK accounted for:

  • 51% of all private sector turnover with a total combined turnover of £1.9 trillion
  • 60% of all private sector employment with a total of 16.2 million people employed
  • at least 99.5% of the businesses in major sectors.

Investment in UK PLC has been hampered since the 2016 Brexit vote but that hasn’t stopped the business population in the UK increasing – by 4% since 2016 – reaching a record of 5.7 million private sector businesses early this year. These numbers are published by the government each year in January. In a few weeks the numbers for 2017 will be released and we will likely see a further increase in this regard.

However, we are also seeing that the UK economy has slowed down over the past year, with the International Monetary Fund calling Britain a ‘notable exception’ to an improving global economic outlook.

 Nevertheless, we at Akoni strongly believe that SMEs are significant contributors to the UK economy, as seen in the above figures. Therefore, we will continue to support SMEs and charities as the bedrock of economic growth.

  1. 2017 for Akoni: highlights

 Over the last year as our business has gone from strength to strength so has our team, and as the year draws to a close our number of team members has already doubled. We have a group of talented and motivated individuals, each in their own field, from various backgrounds, contributing valuable resources to the Akoni endeavour.

 

Throughout the year we took part in various events, had the chance to speak and present the Akoni proposition to vast and fantastic audiences, were selected for prestigious industry competitions and have been mentioned in major news publications.

Here are Akoni’s finest moments of 2017:

 

  1. Akoni’s focus areas

As we look to build on the success we have had to date, there have been a few sectors of the business community that we have been focusing on and we wanted to highlight some of our key takeaways for these communities.

  • Tech Start-Ups

At Akoni a key focus for us, along with assisting SMEs, is working with the start-up community to help these new businesses to reach their full potential by utilising their cash reserves. With an increase in co-working spaces (notably WeWorks but also Plexal and Rise London (the latter for the Fintech industry)), accelerator and incubator programmes often in collaboration with large industry corporates (CO:CUBED and HighTech XL to name a couple) and national led initiatives like London & Partners, the UK feels like an exciting place to be starting a new tech venture. And although there have been mixed reviews about the health of the UK economy, we have been particularly encouraged by what we have seen within these various ecosystems, including collaboration between incumbent tech start-ups in various industries.

Given Akoni’s specialism, we are seeing a number of fintechs growing in the UK, with the aim of giving SMEs more control of, either their existing assets (like Akoni), or providing easier access to funding sources (like Funding Circle and Capitalise) to allow the UK SME market to hopefully achieve even better returns than noted above. In addition, these new Fintechs are also providing sources of capital for the start-up industry, beyond typical VC investment.

With all this being said, we are excited for what 2018 holds for all tech start-ups.

  • Charities

2017 has been another year where charities have been in the spotlight. The response by charities and the public in donating to charities, in the wake of incidents at Grenfell Tower and the Manchester Arena bombing, as well emergencies beyond our shores, has shown that the charity sector in the UK is still huge force for good and plays an important role in society.

With that important role comes accountability and the focus in 2017 charity governance remained a hot topic. The continued scrutiny of the role of Trustees, and use of funds raised, together with the release of the Charity Governance Code outlining standards charities, should aim to points for a need and appetite for improved governance.

What is certain – the voluntary sector is a vital cog in the wheel of our economy and improved governance can be seen as a positive moved for the sector.

Brexit is going to have an impact on the charity sector in the UK. Aside from the £250m+ direct funding UK charities receive from the EU, the impact on the economy will likely put a squeeze on public pockets which could make fundraising harder. The value of the pound will also impact on those charities who operate overseas.

GDPR legislation, continued focus on governance and uncertain political times will also impact on the non-profit sector, but collaboration across the sector, innovation in fundraising and communications, and embracing digital technology in all functions of the organisation, are opportunities to be grasped in 2018.

Charities have faced turbulence in the past and have always found ways to raise funds and continue their important work. We look forward to playing a role in this and helping charities to maximise their income.

  1. Looking ahead to 2018

 2018 will be a critical year for the UK economy where we may see one out of three scenarios:

  1. A bespoke agreement with the EU, which will likely see a stronger pound, reduced inflation, employment growth and a return to economic prosperity.
  2. A hard Brexit which would create a difficult scenario because of the uncertainty around it. In this instance, it seems likely that inflation will rise and the pound and economic growth will likely weaken, whilst unemployment rises.
  3. The PM faces a no-confidence vote by the government, leading to an election with the possibility of seeing labour come into power. This would understandably be quite a shock to the economy, at least for the first year of the new government.

Looking at current reports, it seems likely that interest rates will go up in February following the next Bank of England meeting, particularly if inflation remains around 3%. Unemployment will probably remain reasonably low and wage increases won’t be drastic either. When it comes to overall economic growth, the UK will not see as much growth as will be the case for the rest of the world. While we cannot speak about a recession just yet, the UK economy will face one of its most challenging times and the uncertainty around which of the three above mentioned scenarios will unfold, does not assist the economy with getting back to its expected level, that being the 4th or 5th largest economy in the world. But when it comes to economic forecasting they say that there are two types of economists: Those who cannot forecast and those who don’t know that they cannot forecast. In that same spirit, we at Akoni choose to remain positive.

We very much look forward to the events of next year and what possibilities they will open up for us and for business in general. We cannot help but mention Open Banking coming into effect from January 2018 and how this will change the landscape of finance for the better, allowing SMEs to leverage new types of financial services to their advantage. We are full of hope and optimism that next year can be a great one and that this country’s entrepreneurial spirit will catapult us into a fantastic era of innovation.

           

Akoni helps businesses make the most of their cash. Register free at AkoniHub.com and follow us on Twitter

Neither Akoni or its advisors or officers authorised to make any express or implied representation , warranty or undertaking as to the accuracy or completeness of this update. Furthermore, the writer expresses his /her own opinion and not an investment advice.  

 

What does Brexit mean for the tech sector so far

The tech sector was a major voice in favour of the UK remaining part of the EU. There were fears that an exit from the European Union would cause investment to shift to tech companies outside the UK, uncertainties about the status of EU nationals working in the UK, the acquisition of new talent from the EU and tech companies choosing to have their headquarters elsewhere.

We would like to look at where we stand today with regards to the tech sector and the developments of the Brexit negotiations.

1. Investments

 2016 saw a record high in investments, with more than £ 6.7 billion being invested into UK tech companies, leading Europe in merger and acquisition activity. While investment did slow down after the June 2016 referendum, the fall wasn’t as drastic as expected and was not necessarily attributed to the vote on Brexit, seeing as there was a general fall in tech funding, not just in the UK.

Today the UK remains top of the list when it comes to capital invested by quite a large margin to European countries such as Germany and France. Nevertheless, this margin is shrinking and the UK is the only country where more founders say it was harder to raise investment in 2017 than 2016.

The recent budget announcement included a large amount of government investment into the tech sector, as an attempt to tackle possible losses due to Brexit.

2. Tech companies relocating

The continuing uncertainty regarding trade deals between the EU and the UK, mean that existing UK based companies consider relocating to Europe if the UK leaves the single market. European founders, on the other side, also no longer see the UK as an attractive base for their companies’ headquarters. But is that really the case?

The European tech scene is evolving and beginning to build its own ecosystem independent from what’s going on in the UK, US or elsewhere but that certainly doesn’t remove the UK as a major player in the global tech scene. UK tech companies will continue to have advantages, such as London fintech companies being located in the world’s biggest financial centre, with direct access to a huge b2b market that London offers.

3. EU nationals working in the UK

 After much insecurity regarding EU tech workers’ rights to remain in the UK, the recent reciprocal deal agreed between the EU and Britain certainly caused a sigh of relief in all sectors of business, not least the tech sector, with almost 200,000 EU citizens contributing to UK tech.

EU citizens’ rights to live and work in the UK have been guaranteed including the rights of a range of family members to move to the UK. This of course makes it easier on employers, who up until now did not know, which of their employees would be able to continue working for their companies and how much they would need to re-staff their offices. It also adds to more certainty for new potential talent to be recruited before the March 2019 deadline.

Another concern of the tech sector was the amount of time an EU national could live outside the UK, before losing settled status. Originally this was set to be only 2 years and has now been increased to 5. For tech companies this is a big improvement as they regularly second staff across a global network.

To sum up…

 While the tech sector was not a fan of Brexit, the actual results seen at the moment are not as bad as expected. The deal guaranteeing rights of EU citizens in the UK, is a major break-through in favour of the future of the UK tech sector and while leaving the single market may be considered a disadvantage, there is plenty of room left for positive development of the UK tech sector, still seen as a world leading hub for technology.

 Akoni helps businesses make the most of their cash. Register free at AkoniHub.com and follow us on Twitter

SME’s growth and significance post Brexit

Contribution of SMEs to the UK Economy

SMEs are a large and integral part of the UK economy, where they account for 99.9% of all private sector businesses. The following stats illustrate the significance of SMEs for the economic well-being of the UK.

In 2017, SMEs accounted for

  • 51% of all private sector turnover with a total combined turnover of £1.9 trillion
  • 60% of all private sector employment with a total of 16.1 million people employed
  • at least 99.5% of the businesses in major sectors

In addition to these, total business population in the UK has been continually increasing – by 4% since 2016 and 64% since 2000 – reaching a record of 5.7 million private sector businesses in Jan 2017.

Roadblocks for SME Growth

Despite the significant growth in number of SMEs, that growth does not come easy. Today, SMEs face many challenges including uncertainty created by Brexit, competition from large chains and digital players, the necessity to keep up with the ever-changing innovative landscape, expansion and development considerations, such as funding, and tackling the productivity problem.

A Yougov survey of 1000 SMEs suggested SMEs have negative confidence levels for their own companies, industries and UK economy in general. There are multiple factors contributing to this, main one being Brexit and the uncertainty surrounding it. We have a separate section focusing on Brexit, so I’ll leave this for later. Now, let’s focus on the rest.

Competition is not a new challenge for SMEs. In different shapes and forms, all businesses face competition. The key here is being able to differentiate against the competition, whether that be superior customer service, higher quality products and so on. Efficiently managing your cash holdings and maximising your return could help you sharpen your competitive edge or build one by having extra to invest in projects in line with that goal.

Keeping up with the pace of technology and digitalisation is another major challenge. Longitudinal Small Business Survey of 2016 found that 39% of SME employers had innovated in the last three years, either through the introduction of new or significantly improved goods or services, and/or the introduction of new or significantly improved processes. Considering 64% of the innovations were by companies in information/communications, for which innovation is a must to survive, there is a long way to go for SMEs in general.

This leads to the other challenge faced by most SMEs: roadblocks for expansion and development. Obtaining traditional financing has always been problematic for a large proportion of SMEs. This problem, in fact, made crowd-funding and peer-to-peer lending as popular as they currently are.  However, it is still a work in progress that requires more to open up to such alternative channels and digital solutions in general.

Most UK businesses have issues with productivity and find that problem particularly difficult to tackle. The key to productivity is developing the capabilities to be flexible and lean in order to adapt to the ever-changing landscape. This can only be attained through investments in the growing digital economy and innovations in products and processes. The result will be not only increased profit margins but also the ability to adapt and change your business model as necessary, where the latter might deem even more important for long term survival.

SMEs in post-Brexit UK

In an environment, where the hopes for a soft Brexit are close to zero, the implications of a hard Brexit on UK SMEs raises a lot of question marks. So far, the impact of the decision has been both negative and positive depending on whether you have an export or import perspective. Resulting from the devalued sterling, exporters enjoyed improved returns and UK attracted more tourists since it became a cheaper destination. However, importers are highly likely to see a negative impact on their bottom lines, if they haven’t seen this already.

As deemed highly important for the UK economy’s well-being before Brexit, SMEs are also crucial post-Brexit

1. Cash is king

Cash is key for overcoming a period of uncertainty. For many SMEs, Brexit made it impossible to plan for the future. This might mean your business has not been investing as much as it used to, leading to accumulation of cash in your balance sheet. Do you know that your cash can yield 5-10 times more if invested effectively? For hassle free cash management, Akoni can help you.

2. Access to single market

Losing access to the single market might mean losing access to 500 million potential customers and 26 million businesses in addition to losing access to the diverse talent pool. Depending on your scale, these might be critical or less important, however being able to address these issues is important for the UK economy. People are key for most start-ups and SMEs. Therefore, investing in areas to make it appealing for talent to work for your company despite Brexit is highly important. This is another area where the extra earnings on cash can be channelled.

3. Long standing relationships with banks

Brexit might also mean the obligation to form a relationship with another bank from scratch. This could be time-consuming, taking anywhere from a couple of months to years. For your deposits, Akoni offers you a shortcut, where you can build your relationship with us – in an amount of time that is significantly less than the above – and utilise our existing relationships with our panel banks.

There is no doubt that the coming few years will be interesting to watch. However, with difficulty comes opportunity.

Benan is responsible for Akoni analytics and business development and can be contacted at benan@akonihub.com 

Akoni helps businesses make the most of their cash. Register free at AkoniHub.com and follow us on Twitter

Small Business Saturday – get ready

On Saturday, the 2nd of December, it will be 5 years of Small Business Saturday. It is an event that was created to support small businesses. It attracts millions of customers each year and gives businesses an income boost before Christmas. Akoni believes firmly that SMEs are the bedrock of our economy and we do what we can to support them so we have put together a few tips to prepare for the day:

1. Prepare your customers

Don’t wait for the day to advertise your business. Make sure you tell your customers about it in advance. If you have a newsletter, tell your customers to mark the event in their calendars, with hints to special promotions. Publish multiple posts on Social Media, leading up to the day and get customers excited for your offers.

2. Know your Social Media

Publishing posts to spread the word is key to reaching as many people as possible. Be sure to use the hashtag that is trending. #SmallBizSatUK is used in more than hundred thousand tweets on the day.

3. Stand out

On Small Business Saturday you don’t want to be conducting business as usual. Make sure to make changes that would attract customers. Extend your opening hours for those who have not seen your online promotions or for those who are walking past at unlikely shop opening hours. Since that day is an event, you should treat is such. Hand out balloons to children on the street and for that extra advertising you could make them branded balloons as well. Speaking of advertising, you could encourage passersby to take selfies in front of your shop by providing fun props. This way your name might appear on various Social Media profiles, which will act as free advertising.

4. Partner with other Small Businesses

A great way of promoting your business is to partner with others. You could offer discounts for those who shop in another local business and vice versa. For example, if you own a coffee shop, you could offer a free pastry with every coffee, when shopping at the next door clothing boutique.

5. Make sure your online presence works

Regular social media posts are important. In addition you should always, but particularly on a day that you expect increased traffic, make sure everything on your website works and is up to date. If you have a blog you want to make sure you have recent and relevant blog posts. The last thing you want is for visitors to feel that the site is stale and boring. You want customers to shop on that day, but you also want them to go away with a great experience and for them to come back as a result.

Promoting your business can be a lot of work and expensive. Small Business Saturday was particularly created to focus the awareness of shoppers to businesses like yours. Our advice is to make the most of a relatively cheap, but highly affective promotional tool. While increasing revenue and advertising your business, it will also be great fun for you and your team.

Akoni helps businesses make the most of their cash. Register free at AkoniHub.com and follow us on Twitter

 

 

Government launches new industrial strategy

Today sees the launch of the Government’s new industrial strategy.  Last week Nigel Wilson called for us to put back the Capital into Capitalism and that same (budget) afternoon, Phillip Hammond name checked the “Patient Capital” project that is designed to do just that.

The new strategy for industry aims to tackle weak productivity and support businesses to counter any new problems caused by Brexit. The plans are laid out in the so-called Patient Capital Reviewintended to support innovative firms to access the finance that they need to scale up. The review addresses three key areas:

  • Unlocking institutional and retail investors’ capital
  • Increasing the number of venture capital (VC) funds that can deploy patient capital at scale
  • Increasing returns to scale-up investments

In our last week’s blog on the budget announcement we mentioned the better regulated incentives for EIS as a great step for investors and start-ups. The plan is to extend the investment limits for existing EIS and VCT schemes, targeting the lack of capital availability, particularly at the boundary of the existing EIS and VCT threshold. Get all the details in the full Patient Capital Review, which you can download here.

Akoni helps businesses make the most of their cash. Register free at AkoniHub.com and follow us on Twitter

How Enterprise Social Networking is Changing the Role of Middle Management

Following is a guest blog post from Okappy. A leading market network technology for job management. They share their insight on current trends in social and market network technologies for industry.

When Facebook (or “Thefacebook” as it was then known) originally launched in 2004, it was intended as a small private network for use exclusively by students of Harvard College. Fast forward 13 years, Facebook has two billion users worldwide and has changed the ways in which many of us organise and even carry out our social lives.

Now, building on the fundamentals of social networking sites such as Facebook, enterprise social networks (ESNs) are set to change our working lives in much the same way.

What is Enterprise Social Networking?

Enterprise social networking can be understood as to serve the same purposes as other more recognised forms of social networking, but specifically in application to the working world rather than in a primarily social context.

Joining existing ESNs such as Connections by IBM and Yammer owned by Microsoft, Facebook launched its very own ESN known as Facebook Workplace in October 2016. As reported by Techcrunch, Facebook Workplace has already been adopted by 30,000 organisations in just one year.

Regardless of whether one ESN will eventually reign supreme or whether competing ESNs will continue their coexistence, what is clear is that ESNs are here to stay.

How is Middle Management Affected?

The working department that is arguably set to undergo the greatest transformation by result of enterprise social networking is that of middle management.

As ESNs open up direct channels of communication between senior managers and junior workers, the necessity for middle managers as mediators in hierarchical organisations will be put to question.

However, far more than merely relaying any messages coming from the top of an organisation, middle managers are the people expected to take charge of their working environments—whether online or offline. In directing and moderating an organisation’s use of an ESN, the role of middle management gains new significance as it is brought up to date within the modern working world.

The Changing Role of Middle Management

Middle managers are expected to lead, so the first new task imposed upon them by enterprise social networking is simply to involve themselves in this new form of networking before anyone else.

This may seem a daunting prospect to some of the less technologically minded middle managers out there, but ESNs are designed to be as user friendly as possible. With a little time and energy, anybody can get to grips with how they work. Most of the skills required for an ESN’s operation are also transferrable from more traditional forms of social networking, so middle managers who already use social networks have no excuses.

Once middle managers have set an example for the correct use of an organisation’s ESN, they will ultimately be the people responsible for the ESN’s upkeep. While it’s true that senior managers will have access to an organisation’s ESN, the chances are that they will not have much time to really engage workers on the platform and encourage progress. Naturally, this responsibility will fall to middle management.

Middle managers must actively participate on ESNs, clearly posting targets and inciting discussion. If any workers are unfamiliar with social networking or are struggling to learn the nuances of ESNs on their own accord, then it is down to middle managers to give appropriate support and guidance.

Middle managers can also use the internal analytics provided by ESNs in conjunction with their own professional judgement in assessing adoption rates and the effectiveness of any features that ESNs offer. Where there are failings, middle managers must ask why.

When an ESN has been successfully implemented within an organisation, middle managers will then be able to communicate at any time and in any location with however many workers they wish. Not only does this mean they will be able to give workers real-time updates round the clock, it also means that they will be able to lead remote workforces and not just workers with whom they share office space.

By expanding working environments beyond the physical walls of an office, middle managers will be able to manage larger workforces than ever before.

What to Remember

Despite all the new opportunities made possible by enterprise social networking, perhaps the most important thing for middle managers to do is to not underestimate the value of the face-to-face interaction that they themselves provide.

It can be difficult for workers to trust and put their faith in an organisation that operates entirely online, and workers lose motivation when they can no longer perceive the human element within the organisation they work for. In an increasingly technological era, middle managers are still required to influence and inspire workers in the real world.

Enterprise social networking does not diminish the role of middle management, it simply changes it.

 

—Freddie Kentish, Okappy

 

About the Author: Okappy is a B2B innovative communications and collaborations platform for job management. Okappy combines social and market network technology to communicate and collaborate with employees, subcontractors, across different sites and with different clients. For more insights from them, check out their blog.

 

Key dates for your business in November

1st November – National Novel Writing Month

If you are running a coffee shop, this one is for you. Perhaps not as well-known as most events, independent coffee shops should delight in National Novel Writing Month and hosting their own Write-Ins. A month when aspiring authors set themselves the challenge of churning out a novel in 4 weeks, twice-weekly meet ups in coffee shops are the norm for these wannabe-writers, and offering them the perfect place to let their words and imagination run free might win you some very loyal customers.

5th November – Guy Fawkes Night

Let the glitter flow, a bit of sparkle on this day is entirely forgivable. Themed offers and tasty treats are sure to be appreciated – sticking a sparkler in your cupcakes might not be too subtle, but neither is a Catherine wheel.

24th November – Black Friday

Black Friday has immigrated to the UK from the US and it’s one you don’t want to miss. Use it to drive people to your business with limited-time offers on your goods. Email your customers in advance to present your offers and prepare them to shop with you.

27th November – Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday is the same thing as Black Friday, just on a different day. This is where your business’ online presence can come into its own, with marketing emails, social media posts and dedicated landing pages to your limited-time deals.

30th November – St. Andrew’s Day

He may not be as well-known as St. Patrick, but that’s all the more reasons your customers might appreciate you acknowledging this day. Add a bit of tartan, shortbread or deep-fried Mars bars to your offerings, novelty is a powerful tool for customer engagement.

Where’s the money? Some advice to improve your business’ Cash Flow

Cash flow is one of the issues SMEs struggle with the most. It is a topic much discussed and many owners of Small Businesses will confirm that it is a major concern of theirs.

In order to keep your business’ cash flowing you will have to make sure you are managing your cash properly. Careful cash management is generating revenues that bring in more cash than you are spending on your stock, your team and other business expenses and to manage this on an ongoing basis. It boils down to collecting data, reviewing and analysing it and then distributing cash where it is most needed. This may sound quite straight forward but most small and medium sized businesses fail to take the necessary steps in this regard.

1. Cash Forecasting

You should review your expenses such as rent, inventory, salaries and wages and taxes on a regular basis. It’s important to always know what costs you have and make a plan for the future as to what those costs will be and when they will hit your bank balance. Plan exactly when and how much you will be spending and always ask yourself why you are spending the money on each expense. This way you will be able to see what your necessary expenses are and which ones you could save on. There are various cash forecasting tools that can help you map out your spendings.

2. Monitor incoming payments

Check your accounts regularly for payments coming in. Late payments are a problem that many SMEs face and they can often be the reason for running low on cash. To avoid this make sure you invoice your customers promptly and to send invoices to the right person. Keep track of outstanding payments and take measures to chase late payments. There is nothing wrong with giving customers a nudge. A great, non-invasive, way of doing this is sending out reminder emails to encourage customers to pay outstanding bills. Visually appealing emails, with a simple call to action, such as “Pay Now”, linking to a payment site, will go a long way.

3. Dream big, stay humble

Having a grand vision of your business’ future is important and ambition is desired. However, it is important to stay realistic. The only certainty you have is that the future of any business is uncertain. Even if you can follow a particular patterns in earnings, it doesn’t mean that these will continue as such. You cannot predict the behaviour of potential customers and rates change all the time, in an unpredictable way. Therefore it is smart to expect the worst while working for the best, when managing your business’ cash.

4. Maximise the returns on your cash holdings

An aspect almost always neglected by SMEs is making sure that the business’ cash holdings are generating the maximum amount of returns, based on the best rates of the market. This is partially due to a lack of awareness of market activity, but mostly it is a lack of time and resources to scan the market for the best rates and then moving the business’ money around accordingly. Akoni stepped up and created a tool to automate this process. We provide a platform that scans the market for the best rates and cash can then be continuously allocated in a way that will maximise returns, in just a few clicks. In this way you can make extra money for your business while not adding another task to the to-do list.

If you follow these basic guidelines your business will be in a secure position to continue running and you can properly facilitate growth with healthy cash flow.

Akoni helps businesses make the most of their cash. Register free at AkoniHub.com and follow us on Twitter

 

 

UK government support for SMEs waning?

SMEs have been promised £1 in 3£ of the government’s procurement budget by 2020, but it seems as though it is not exactly planning out that way.

Governmental services seem to be attempting to go with the tide and expand their digital services in order to digitalise citizens transactions as much as possible. Today we are able to do so many things online, saving us time, money, resources, and so much more. In just a few clicks we can do money transfers, school applications, ordering new passports, drivers license, learning new languages…to mention only a few of the vast options we have today. As for citizens transactions we could be doing things online, such as renewing car taxes, filing income tax self-assessments, obtaining licenses and permits, paying taxes and more.

Citizens transactions are more and more digitalised and it only makes sense to do so. The transformation the government needs to go through, costs a huge amount of money, which it seems to be willing to spend. The question now is, where is this money spent? Where does the government get its resources from?

Chris Middleton, co-editor of Unified Communications Insight, and founder and editor in chief of the Strategist Magazine, writes:

So the tide seems to be turning against SMEs within the public sector: a cause for serious concern post-Brexit, when the UK will have no choice but to nurture its home-grown talent. Reversing that trend will demand real leadership, but the government may feel it has more important things to do.

What we would like to see is that the project to facilitate digital transformation would at the same time support SMEs and their possibilities to grow and give their valuable contribution to our economy. But despite the plan to allocate the said amount of government spendings to small and medium sized businesses, the public sector seems to prefer to turn to enterprise giants.

Akoni helps businesses make the most of their cash. Register free at AkoniHub.com and follow us on Twitter

Response: Brexit, UK businesses demand minimum three year transition period

Businesses are facing a very difficult time with the implications of Brexit looming on the horizon. Whether for small businesses or larger ones, the changes will inevitably cause huge disruptions in so many different sectors. When it comes to importing goods, businesses will suddenly be faced with border controls, tariffs and therefore with a slowing down of their production, in addition to further higher costs involved. Of-course this is only one aspect that will prevent businesses from growing and our collective economy prospering as a result.

“Uncertainty” is a term we hear all the time now. The government is not able to provide any insight into what we will have to deal with in the next few years and it is leaving everyone guessing. Experts provide their predictions, usually based on their personal preferences of leaving or remaining in the EU.

Whatever the outcome of the Brexit negotiations will be, businesses will need time to adjust. Even if the arrangements are clear within the next months, businesses must be given a chance to function within the new regulations and see what sort of adjustments they will have to make.

Surely it is in everyone’s interest to cause minimal damage and support our businesses with smooth transitions, as much as possible. We also believe that some sense of support and positive actions towards small and medium sized businesses would do so much to encourage the morale of the brilliant entrepreneurship in this country.

We at Akoni are not only in the business of supporting SMEs in maximising their cash returns but, we are a business in our own right that may be effected by cross border financial and business regulations in the future.

Akoni helps businesses make the most of their cash. Register free at AkoniHub.com and follow us on Twitter