Budget cuts and cash flow concerns
The survey, which questioned over 3,000 small businesses to evaluate post recessionary expenditure. Despite the majority (73 per cent) recognising the benefits of new technologies, over half (57 per cent) revealed they have 50% less to invest in IT equipment for the office this year. 16 per cent are facing a budget of three quarters the pre-recessionary level with the majority planning to spend only in the event of equipment failure rather than upgrade existing office technologies.
The study, carried out by Trends Research and commissioned by RentSmart, a leading IT and office equipment finance company reveals that cash flow concerns are behind the cuts. Over 1/3 (36 per cent) cited that keeping up to date with the latest computer equipment and office technologies would put a big strain on cash flow, with 7 in 100 claiming the required investment would threaten the liquidity of the business. Just 4 per cent of businesses cited that they would be able to invest fully in the latest IT and office technologies this year. 14 per cent revealed that reducing hardware with headcount during the recession has placed extra strain on budgets, with additional IT expenditure now required with new staff hires.
In response to the findings RentSmart is launching a new service SmartPlan Plus. Available exclusively at PC World Business, SmartPlan Plus provides small businesses with access to the latest office and IT equipment on a rental basis. Businesses can choose from a wide range of the very latest equipment from desktop PCs to wireless technologies either online at www.pcwb.co.uk or at any one of PC Worlds 190 shops nationwide.
Gareth Parry, Managing Director, RentSmart, comments: “Small businesses fully recognise the benefits that the latest technologies can bring but cash flow is everything and the recession has made companies look closer at how they are using their scarce cash resources. SmartPlan Plus provides a very effective way of keeping up to date with all the latest IT and office technologies at a manageable fixed rate starting from just £12 per month. This expenditure is also up to 100% tax deductible.”
Under SmartPlan Plus small businesses are able to upgrade equipment when required. Feedback from respondents revealed that the majority of small businesses have not upgraded computer hardware in the last 5 years. 1 in 10 are using are using an operating system that is 10 years old.
Secure data transfer
Small businesses using SmartPlan Plus are also provided with a data transfer service. This ensures that all data and information held on IT and technology equipment such as computers and smartphones is securely transferred to the new equipment and removed from old during an upgrade. It follows feedback from small businesses that reveals that 8 out of 10 (84 per cent) have no method to safely dispose of data, with over a quarter (25%) just relying on staff to delete contents. When questioned over 1/3 (35 per cent) respondents revealed that the risk of data loss posed a significant threat to their business.
Additional services with SmartPlan Plus include a Data Vault, to securely back-up and store the information held on a small businesses IT system as well as the recycling of old unwanted equipment. Over a quarter (25 %) of small businesses revealed they don’t recycle old hardware despite recognising the benefits to business of having a ‘green’ image.