The professional services sector is turning to digital innovation to help manage a variety of challenges, a new report has revealed.
The findings, from digital payments and business tools provider Square, looked at the future of professional services in the UK, a sector that represents a quarter of the country’s businesses.
While the pandemic is no longer a main concern for these businesses, inflation, workforce shortages and supply chain issues are major challenges, alongside complex budget, tax and regulatory changes. To minimise costs, while maximising growth, many services firms are turning to digital tools and models to help grow the business and maintain efficiencies.
Concerning the transformational technologies being adopted, some 84% of respondents said their payments and accountancy software are now integrated, ensuring sales and cashflow are updated in accountancy software in real time, while 68% of businesses say cloud-based platforms and accessible data have improved their business practices. Some 62% said their business has changed their pricing model in the last year, while 57% are planning to change theirs in the next 12 months.
Almost half (47%) of professional service operators are opting for a ‘hybrid’ business model while 50% of the respondents said they intend to change their working model in the next 12 month.
“When the world went online during the pandemic, technology helped businesses survive,” said Niamh Cunningham, Senior Manager, International Finance and Strategy at Square. “One of the lasting benefits we’ve seen for businesses was the shift to digital ways of working. This switch is providing solutions to challenges all across the professional services sector by allowing businesses to be agile. Our sellers are continuously finding new and more efficient ways of working that prioritise expertise, implementing technology, and setting their business apart in an increasingly competitive landscape.”
“There’s no question that professional services have become more competitive during recent years,” said Anne Harris, UK Product Specialist at Square. “Turbulence in the marketplace has seen customers become more discerning than ever when researching potential providers. This makes it essential that professional services take a pragmatic approach to their marketing, social media, and online reviews. For example, requests and signposting to reviews can be included in a business’s automated invoicing and social media messaging, all of which can be easily managed using products like Square Marketing and Invoice tools.”