Despite Brexit threat, business aims for growth

London building
By SAP Concur

17 December 2018

Despite a looming Brexit, the majority of finance professionals report feeling optimistic about the future economic landscape, in the latest  research from SAP Concur.

The Fuelling Business Growth survey was based on responses from senior UK finance decision makers across a range of industries and business sizes, and found that 96% of respondents believe that, following the Brexit process, UK businesses are still planning to grow.

Asking the important questions

Where is your business on the path to growth? How can you and your team help take your business to the next level? What could you do differently to mitigate risk, become more strategic and prepare for the future?

These are some of the questions we asked senior UK finance decision makers. At SAP Concur, we wanted to explore growth strategies in a changing economic landscape – particularly in light of the uncertainties caused by Brexit.

The full findings are in the latest  SAP Concur report: Fuelling Business Growth: How UK Finance Leaders Can Drive Strategy and Avoid Risk.

Is growth possible in the age of uncertainty?

With Britain’s exit from the EU approaching, change seems inevitable. Undoubtedly this will impact the way many businesses run and trade, both domestically and abroad.

The survey found that attitudes to Brexit have shifted, with respondents believing that Brexit is the latest in a long line of challenges for UK business to overcome.Of the finance leaders who responded, it was clear that they understood this and do not plan to let the implications of Brexit talks stand in the way of business growth.

At SAP Concur we believe that businesses who thrive in the age of uncertainty are businesses who have refined and future-proofed their processes. Agility is key to remaining profitable in an uncertain landscape.

What is your business doing to prepare for future change?

Where do you want to be?

Where a business is on its growth journey defines the opportunities available and the challenges that hold it back.

In our survey, we asked respondents to define their growth status. The five options ranged from ‘start up’, which was a business in its infancy with ambitious plans for growth, to ‘international expansion’, which was a mature business with plans to trade on an international scale. The three most popular answers were:

  • Expanding (31%) – growing businesses starting to face the challenges commonly associated with medium-sized businesses
  • Investing (28%) – relatively mature businesses investing in local growth strategies such as opening new offices and refining processes
  • Structuring (22%) – businesses becoming increasingly complex and needing to put structure and processes in place to take back control

Where does your business sit on this scale?

Planning for growth

The next step in our research was to understand where businesses are focusing their growth efforts, and then specifically looking at the focus for finance teams. The findings revealed clear overlaps.

For the business as a whole:

  • Improving cash flow and profits (57%)
  • Invest in IT infrastructure (51%)
  • Expand into new markets (48%)
  • Hire more staff (46%)

For the finance team specifically, the priorities are:

  • Improving cash flow (51%)
  • Reducing costs (51%)
  • Investing in new finance / IT systems (47%)
  • Streamlining current finance / IT systems (38%)

Finance of the future

Over 90% of the finance leaders we spoke to recognise that automation solutions that streamline expense, travel and invoice hold the key. Such tools free them up to concentrate on the strategic work that underpins sustainable growth and enables them to scale efficiently. In this way they are equipped to face the future, whatever it has in store.

Read the full SAP Concur report

Fuelling Business Growth 

SAP Concur

And to enable your organisation to focus on its strategic goals and quickly adapt to the challenges of the future, contact SAP Concur today.

This blog is one of a series of articles from our commercial partners.
The views expressed are those of the commercial partner and not necessarily those of ICAS.


  • Opinion
  • Brexit

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