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Automation to help UK companies compete with larger rivals

Our recent survey of mid-size and large companies looks into whether or not automation creates a level playing field for firms with varied resources and manpower.

Automation to help UK mid-size companies compete with larger rivals

A report from the World Economic Forum (WEF) suggests that while automation is likely to displace 75 million jobs, it will also create 133 million new ones that will be “more adapted to the new division of labour between humans, machines and algorithms”.

Seen as both a threat and opportunity, automation – execution of a task or a process without human assistance – is having a ripple effect across industries and companies.

Centtrip has interviewed more than 500 decision makers from medium-sized and large companies about their current use of automation and the perceived benefits and drawbacks.  In particular, we looked into whether or not automation created a level playing field for firms with varied resources and manpower.

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Level playing field

One in five (21%) medium-sized businesses in the UK believe that automation will help them compete with larger rivals.

“Automation represents the onset of the digital revolution across sectors and industries,” said Brian Jamieson, CEO and co-founder of Centtrip. “It is already transforming the way companies operate, boosting productivity and innovation in the fields that long relied on old-fashioned and often inefficient processes and systems.”

Nearly one in three (33%) of surveyed medium-size businesses believe new technologies will save them “significant sums of money”. Almost three-quarters (74%) said they already use automation in some or all areas of their business. Only 6% said they didn’t plan on introducing technology in their work processes.

That said, currently larger firms are more likely than medium-sized companies to reap the full benefits of automation, with 32% of large vs 24% of medium-sized firms using it throughout their business.

Focus on specialist skills

Our study has also identified that two in five (42%) say automation would save them a significant amount of time and more than one-third (37%) agree that it would allow staff to focus more on strategy.

One area where Centtrip demonstrates the benefits and power of automation is in accounting and treasury management as more firms realise the potential of fintech companies to save time and money on repetitive yet time-consuming tasks.

“While potentially bearing considerable initial costs, once implemented, automated services have the potential to pave the way for smaller and medium-sized companies to catch up with their larger competitors that may employ more people and have better resources,” says Brian. “This new level playing field is not only good for the wider economy, but also for customers as they have more choice and access to better financial services.”

Our study is not aimed at either confirming or dispelling the WEF’s forecast mentioned above, but nearly one-quarter (23%) of businesses said they would reduce their headcounts as they introduce more automated services. However, this also means that these firms may have to hire new staff with more specialist skills.

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