Square, the globally trusted software, payments, and hardware solution for businesses of all sizes, has today released new research that looks at the future of professional services across the UK.
The report uncovers the principal challenges faced by professional service businesses, while also identifying the technology solutions available to help them continue to grow. The impact of the pandemic is no longer the primary concern for professional service providers with businesses listing rising costs, supply chain and resourcing issues, increasingly complex budgets, tax, and regulatory changes as the main challenges in the industry.
“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.”
To identify where professional service providers are on their digital transformation journey, Square asked 300 decision-makers how technology has transformed their business.
Some of the key finding from the report include:
- Exploring opportunities - 43% said their business had expanded into a new vertical in the past year with a further 43% intending to target a new vertical in the next 12 months
- Omnichannel approach - 75% said their business provides products and services across multiple channels with just over half saying those channels are synchronised
- New ways of working - 67% said new ways of working (e.g. remote working, cloud-based platforms, and accessible data) have improved their business practice
- Process automation - 61% said their business intends to increase their use of automated tools in the next 12 months with 42% using them for financial processes
- External expertise - 61% said their business increased the use of freelancers and consultants during the last year
“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.”