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Opinion > Aldermore

Enhancing offerings to SMEs with the use of technology

Patrick Jelly, commercial director for asset finance at Aldermore Bank | 15:39 Thursday 23rd January 2020

Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) make up a significant proportion of British businesses.

In 2019, this figure stood at 5.82 million, making up three-fifths of UK employment and around half of turnover in the UK private sector. With SMEs having such a vast impact on the UK economy, it is crucial that these businesses are continually developing. To boost productivity and profitability, SMEs increasingly need to utilise technology and adapt their systems to work more efficiently.

Technology is allowing SMEs to overcome traditional barriers to growth. By simplifying daily business activity and improving the efficiency of service offerings to SMEs, small changes can free up time for businesses and enable them to focus on growing their business and providing for their customers. 

In recent years, we have seen an overhaul in operations, as technology has enabled companies to better understand their cash flow needs. The availability of mobile and cloud-based systems has allowed businesses to centralise information, making for ease of access for optimal business operations. For instance, customer relationship management software platforms offer a range of applications containing information on customers, vendors, partners, suppliers and leads, which ensures that businesses stay organised and can quickly access data. It has the added benefit of being highly scalable, accommodating the changes in a business as it grows. Additionally, technology is allowing SMEs to control and monitor their finances, with applications outlining key information, such as accounts payable, invoice creation and balance sheets. The above highlights not only the need for SMEs to embrace technological advancements, but also raises the necessity for companies to adapt their offering to these businesses, providing more dynamic products. 

At Aldermore, we have recently grown our asset finance proposition and launched a new online portal for brokers called asset backer. In order to provide a user-friendly and easily accessible service, the platform simplifies and improves the efficiency of transactions between small businesses and brokers. 

There are a number of features on the portal helping brokers to manage their portfolio conveniently in one place. Asset backer lets brokers calculate and deliver quotes, as well as generate documentation, with the added ease of electronically signing agreement documents. In addition, the portal allows brokers to submit new business proposals which are sent directly to Aldermore’s underwriters for review, further streamlining the process. Brokers will then have the ability to track the status of their proposals in real time and on-the-go using a smartphone, tablet or desktop device.

Alongside asset backer, we have also developed our own automated credit underwriting system known as Aldermore credit decisioning system (ACDS). The new system reduces the time it takes for us to reach credit decisions on deals by automating part of the process. By automating the more basic decisions, our human credit underwriters have greater capacity to focus on more complex deals and interact directly with our brokers.

The launch of both asset backer and ACDS complements Aldermore’s current offering to our asset finance customers and strengthens our support and commitment to brokers and small business owners across the UK working to drive SME growth.

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