The leasing sector needs to become more agile to meet the needs of an increasingly important and ‘entitled’ SME sector. This is the observation from financial software experts Copernicus’ MD Allen Jones reflecting upon a cultural and technical change that is emerging rapidly in the business community.
“While there has been much written and reported about the need for finance amongst the business sector, increasingly, it is also about the speed for finance, starting with the ease to even quote accurately on leasing proposals.”
Allen’s observations recognise the increasing importance of SMEs in the UK economy and the cultural differences between them and the traditional view of business customers. Today’s SME owners and leaders thinking is framed by their experiences as consumers. They assume rapid levels of service from the people with whom they work. With the credit crunch now a distant memory for many, most of those seeking finance expect to get it when they need it. Speed for the leasing sector is all-important.
The sense of entitlement amongst SMEs reflects their current confidence. Numerous research articles published this year point to an overwhelming expectation amongst SMEs that they will expand in 2018. While the span of this growth is wide ranging from 37% to 80% even the lowest figure is impressive.
Fast-moving, confident and service oriented, today’s SME can be characterised as demanding an accessible and friction-free type experience when it comes to financing the tools of their trades. This need is often being filled by the growing finance broker community which recognises a kindred spirit. However, for many of these brokers, access to the right technology and the transformative impact it could have is being stifled;
“The capacity to digitise and speed up the financing journey from quotation to documentation is often being held back by cost and confidence concerns. Many of the brokers we talk to are ‘digital immigrants’ who did not grow up with technology and are arguably more comfortable with relationships than code. Yet, technology is more accessible and affordable than many realise and would enable brokers to combine the speed of transaction with strong relationships. Moreover, in today’s disruptive world, if they don’t make this move, then someone else probably will.”