Where is your business on the path to growth? How can you and your team help take your business to the next level? What could you do differently to mitigate risk, become more strategic and prepare for the future?
These are some of the questions we asked market research specialist Vanson Bourne to put to senior UK finance decision makers across a range of industries and business sizes. We wanted to explore growth strategies in a changing economic landscape – particularly in light of an upcoming Brexit. The findings are in our latest research report: Fuelling Business Growth: How UK Finance Leaders Can Drive Strategy and Avoid Risk.
Preparing for Business Growth in the Age of Uncertainty
With Britain’s exit from the European Union approaching we are going to see a lot of change that will impact the way many businesses run and trade both domestically and abroad.
But there is always change in business and Brexit is just the latest example of this. It was clear that the finance leaders we spoke to understood this and didn’t plan to let it stand in their way. Indeed, 96% of the businesses we spoke to say they are planning to grow.
It’s also true to say that the businesses that thrive in the age of uncertainty are businesses that refine and future-proof their processes, so they can remain agile and profitable.
What is your business doing to achieve this?
Where Are You Now and Where Do You Want to Be?
Where a business is on its growth journey defines the opportunities available and the challenges that hold it back.
In our survey, we asked respondents to define their growth status. The five options ranged from ‘start up’, which was a business in its infancy with ambitious plans for growth, to ‘international expansion’, which was a mature business with plans to trade on an international scale.
We had respondents in every category but the three most popular were:
- Expanding (31%) – growing businesses starting to face the challenges commonly associated with medium-sized businesses
- Investing (28%) – relatively mature businesses investing in local growth strategies such as opening new offices and refining processes
- Structuring (22%) – businesses becoming increasingly complex and needing to put structure and processes in place to take back control
Where does your business sit on this scale?
Planning for Growth
The next step in our research was to understand where businesses as a whole are focusing their growth efforts and where finance teams specifically are focusing their growth efforts. The findings revealed clear overlaps.
For the business as a whole:
- 57% plan to improve cash flow and profits
- 51% plan to invest in IT infrastructure
- 48% plan to expand into new markets
- 46% plan to hire more staff
For the finance team specifically the priorities are:
- Improving cash flow (51%)
- Reducing costs (51%)
- Investing in new finance / IT systems (47%)
- Streamlining current finance / IT systems (38%)
Business Growth and Finance of the Future
Over 90% of the finance leaders we spoke to recognise that automation solutions that streamline expense, travel and invoice hold the key. Such tools free them up to concentrate on the strategic work that underpins sustainable growth and enables them to scale efficiently. In this way they are equipped to face the future, whatever it has in store.
To read the full findings of the report, download Fuelling Business Growth: How UK Finance Leaders Can Drive Strategy and Avoid Risk.
And to enable your organisation to focus on its strategic goals and quickly adapt to the challenges of the future, contact SAP Concur today.