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UK SMEs fear inflation and rising energy costs are a long-term threat to their business

The UK is currently in a state of economic crisis, with energy bills rising and the unemployment rate continuing to worsen, the UK is expected to enter a recession in 2023.

A recent report by Energy Live News found that many small businesses are ‘struggling to stay afloat’, and it’s anticipated that ‘nearly 53% of small companies expect to stagnate, downsize or fold in the next year’ as a result of the energy crisis. CIPS also reported that 74% of SMEs said energy bills, inflation, and rising living costs are a long-term concern for their business. As a result, startups are failing; between January and March 2022, there were 205,171 new incorporations and 150,810 dissolutions in the UK.

With a lack of time, funds and resources at their disposal, SMEs are looking for innovative ways to save money and digitise previously costly services, leaving funds available for other areas of the business. Digital solutions such as Docue, Xero and Hubspot have seen a year-on-year growth in users, as more SMEs look to go digital and reap the benefits of centralising and organising large areas of their business. Docue has recently reported its fourth consecutive year of growth in customer subscriptions.

The Workforce Institute at UKG found that ‘the pandemic propelled 87% of the UK workforce into new ways of working underpinned by digital technology,’ and 86% of those surveyed saw how digitisation positively impacted their business. One positive outcome of digitisation is that it’s much more cost effective. Without digitising, SMEs often find themselves with substantial fees for various aspects of the business, including legal and employment contracts and policies.

In an analysis of its most popular startup contracts, Docue, a contract management solution, found that SMEs could save up to £30,000 a year by using its digital platform over traditional legal service. They concluded that the majority of startups will require a minimum of 12 legal documents and that items such as employment contracts, IP assignments and privacy policies can cost small businesses up to £1,500 each when created using a lawyer or law firm.

As such, Docue and digital platforms like it, offer novel solutions, promoting profitability, efficiency and productivity. With Docue for example, startups and SMEs can easily democratise all their contracts and work files, meaning businesses can create layer-grade legal documents and improve quality, validity and accessibility. This cuts the need for multiple, costly systems to edit, sign and store contracts and instead provides a simple solution with access to legal guidance, e-signing software and editable templates, all in one place. Where SMEs and start-ups are facing more and more pressure to save money and scale up quickly, digital solutions provide the answer.

Neil Edwards, VP of sales at Docue, said:‘’At Docue, our mission is to help SMEs with digital transformation by revolutionising the way businesses use legal content. We have already saved over 30,000 SMEs time, hassle and money by helping them to streamline administration, accelerate processes and keep up with changing local regulatory requirements with 500,000 contracts. We believe that the “Docue way” will become a new standard, one agreement at a time.’’

The current economic crisis may be an unprecedented time for SMEs, who are thus looking to cut time, resources and funding wherever possible. However digitising previously costly services proves to not only cut costs and leave resources for other sides of the business, but also improve efficiency and productivity.

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