Whitepaper: 2020 Vision – what SMEs want from business accounts

Sarah Hiraki

 · 04/09/2020  · 04/09/2020

As a digital-first SME, you don’t call your financial services provider very often and rarely visit a branch. You’d rather access your business accounts online. But surprisingly, the majority of you are still with the financial services providers you selected five or more years ago when having a physical branch nearby was still seen as important.

Our 2020 Vision research among SMEs paints a picture of fast-moving businesses in increasing tension with antiquated business account offerings. Sixty-three percent of you have not changed financial services provider in more than five years – but 42% are now looking to change providers in the next 12 months.

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Analogue relationships in a digital world

A decade ago, when a quarter of SMEs last changed financial services provider, cash was used for 60% of all payments, so regular trips to the cashier were important. Our research suggests that today only 25% of transactions are in cash, and experts predict that in the next decade it will be used in less than 9% of payments. Yet the reasons why SMEs select their business account provider remain stuck in the era of cash and cheques (remember them?!). In the UK, 43% chose their provider because of an existing personal finance relationship. In France and Poland 38% of SMEs selected their financial services provider because they had a branch nearby their business.

Whilst nearly one-third still visit a physical branch of their provider once a month, SMEs are also entering relationships with multiple business account providers. One in six UK SMEs has a relationship with three or more institutions – perhaps not getting what they need from any individual provider

There is a clear desire for more user-friendly services: 50% put this and ‘easy to navigate’ at the top of their lists of attributes they wanted in a business account. Forty-six percent say 24/7 access to their accounts is very important today.

Open Banking, transparency and choice

As a significant proportion of SMEs look to other options, transparency is what they want to see more of. Only security is rated as more important. With 47% saying they are concerned by the fees they are charged, and 33% surprised by charges from their current providers all or most of the time, it is hardly surprising that many are looking for new, more honest relationships this year.

A simple first step is to start to view all of your accounts through the slick, easy-to-use, interface that we provide. Revolut for Business is a pioneer in delivering Open Banking solutions to the SME community. This regulation is transforming financial services by requiring providers to allow their customers to share their data with new entrants that offer new and better services. Now, you can use your Revolut for Business dashboard to see all of your transactions and balances from all your accounts in a single app. Find out more about how to assess your financial relationships and change them for the better by downloading our 2020 Vision report.