As we’re fast approaching the end of 2019, I thought it would be a good time to reflect on the challenges that SMEs have faced this year. A couple of the things we’ve come up against are still causing concerns for some people, such as Brexit, but with the right planning we can minimise the disruption they cause as we wait out the uncertainty.
Making Tax Digital (MTD)
This huge change in the way we deal with tax is something that affected nearly everyone. With this being a HMRC mandatory piece of legislation, it was something that businesses had no choice but to take notice of. An update to the way businesses work, training on new processes for their people, and ensuring technology was compliant was in place for many of us by April.
This step towards a fully digital process shows that digitalisation is here to stay, with no signs of slowing down or letting anyone stay living in the past when it comes to technology. Mel Stride MP, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, said: “Delivering Making Tax Digital for VAT is the first step toward our ambition to create one of the most digitally advanced tax authorities in the world”; take note of the “first step” part of that sentence.
The ‘soft landing period’ for the majority of businesses that MTD has affected will end in April 2020. If you aren’t compliant by this date you will face penalties or even prosecution, so if you haven’t already taken action, now is the time to do so.
The dreaded B word that we’re all, let’s be honest, sick of hearing about. Deal or no deal, talks of a second referendum, a new prime minister leading the way… we’ve had a fair few ups and downs with this one.
The uncertainty around Brexit has affected pretty much every business in the UK, mainly thanks to it bringing the value of the pound down to the lowest it has been in years. If you have any dealings with companies outside of the UK, whether that be buying stock that isn’t manufactured in the UK, or if you trade with companies outside of the UK, you will be affected by Brexit.
We can’t say for sure how much business will be affected yet, as this is completely dependant on the deal, or likely no deal, outcome. What we can say is that business should start to put plans in place now for every eventuality. This article written by Sage on how Brexit will affect businesses is a great read if you’re unsure of what to expect.
The growth of Business Intelligence applications
Using business intelligence (BI) tools to improve operations is something that you’ve probably heard about. It may be something that you thought was only realistically accessible for large businesses with big budgets behind them, or perhaps you thought it was too complex for you to even begin looking at.
This year has seen BI applications become even more mainstream than ever before. With solutions such as Microsoft’s Power BI becoming a standard suite of analytics tools in many companies, it is opening people’s eyes to see the business benefits of data analytics.
If SMEs are to stay competitive and not get left behind in what is fast becoming (many would say it has already happened) a data driven business landscape, it is imperative that they start working smarter. Tools such as BI applications empower your people, giving them the insights they need to do their jobs properly.
Business Intelligence applications are available for both Sage 200cloud, which connects to Microsoft Power BI, and SAP Business One, which has options such as SAP HANA for data management and analytics reporting.
What can we learn from 2019
So, as we look forward to 2020 what can we learn from this year? Every challenge that SMEs have faced have had one thing in common when it comes to how successfully they overcame it… their people. Your team is your most important asset when it comes to your business’s success; their collaboration with other teams to drive projects forward, their ability to adapt to new processes in place for legislation changes, and their drive to challenge the standard way of working to keep your competitive edge.
We believe that it’s your people, not necessarily your technology, that drives your company towards more intelligent working practices. Our solutions can help your people really unlock the potential of your business.
If you’d like a free consultation to see how you can empower your people, contact us today.