Are outdated government services stunting SME growth?

Out of date online government services could be slowing growth among small firms in the UK, according to technology firm EMC.


It is suggested that SMEs are spending more than one working month a year trying to understand and use old technology.


Business owners meanwhile believe that up to five hours a week could be saved if government digital technology was updated to incorporate features similar to those found on sites such as Facebook or Amazon.


Certain commercial areas require more attention than others according to the study, which highlights business support relating to funding alongside health and safety as two main areas of concern.


Online tax services are used heavily by businesses yet this is also the area that requires the most drastic changes, with 31% of owners claiming this to be the case.


Firms revealed they would like to see information displayed in a directory format so that available services can be found quickly and with the minimum of fuss too.


Half of all businesses revealed they would appreciate that sort of update while four in ten said personalised updates relating to how regulation affects them are also needed.


Some 36% of firms said they need an online system that is capable of providing all of the details required when trying to set up in one location using relevant business rates as well.


Businesses also suggested that they need better access to requesting one-to-one help when it is needed, alongside better navigational tools on the main government websites.


The study reveals a clear demand from small businesses for digital advancement of government services that can aid their everyday operations.


Many of these firms cannot afford to waste both time and money by dealing with outdated technology.


This ultimately impacts upon their operational costs and places unnecessary financial pressures upon them – potentially leaving the business requiring insolvency advice if the situation becomes too severe.


However, should the government takes steps to bring services in line with those from other organisations then it could provide a huge boost to thousands of small businesses.


By Phil Smith


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