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For a successful business, you need a viable business idea, the skills to make it work and the funding. Discover whether your idea has what it takes.

Forming your business correctly is essential to ensure you are protected and you comply with the rules. Learn how to set up your business.

It is likely you will need funding to start your business unless you have your own money. Discover some of the main sources of start up funding.

Businesses and individuals must account for and pay various taxes. Understand your tax obligations and how to file, account and pay any taxes you owe.

Businesses are required to comply with a wide range of business laws. We introduce the main rules and regulations you must comply with.

Learn why business planning is an essential exercise if your business is to start and grow successfully, attract funding or target new markets.

Marketing matters. It drives sales and helps promote your brand and products. Discover how to market your business and reach your target customers.

Some businesses need a high street location whilst others can be run from home. Understand the key factors from cost to location, size to security.

Your employees can your biggest asset. They can also be your biggest challenge. We explain how to recruitment and manage staff successfully.

It is likely your business could not function without some form of IT. Learn how to specify, buy, maintain and secure your business IT.

Few businesses manage the leap from start up to high-growth business. Learn what it takes to scale up and take your business to the next level.

How COVID-19 has changed business banking for small firms

1 December 2020

A new report has found that the coronavirus pandemic has significantly changed the way that SMEs use business banking.

A survey of 2,000 small business owners conducted by YouGov for Pay.UK has found that SMEs are three times more likely to say they are satisfied than dissatisfied with their bank's service since the pandemic started. But it says lockdown has "changed their behaviour dramatically, in a way that points to significant changes to customer behaviour both now and in future".

Sole traders, micro-businesses and larger SMEs were polled in February 2020 and again in September 2020, enabling researchers to see how attitudes to business banking have changed during the pandemic.

The results show that the proportion of SMEs using business current accounts has increased from 69% in February to 74% in September - driven by the need for firms to have a business account in order to receive access to government-backed lending schemes.

In addition, the proportion of SMEs who say they regularly use a bank branch has dropped by almost a quarter (22%) in six months; at the same time, 15% of those polled said their use of mobile or online banking has gone up.

When it comes to choosing a bank, the importance of physical branches has declined. When asked in September 2020, 17% of SMEs said the availability of nearby bank branches was important when selecting their bank or building society, down from 22% in February 2020.

This trend is most noticeable in the North East where 35% of SMEs believed nearby branches were important in February, falling to 18% in September. The importance of branches also varies between industries. One in ten IT companies (11%) said nearby branches were an important factor compared to 29% of leisure and hospitality businesses.

Overall, four in ten SMEs (38%) say they have been satisfied with the support they received from their business current account provider since the pandemic began. Only 13% of SMEs said they were dissatisfied.

The findings show that the most important factors for small firms looking to switch accounts are:

  • Low or no charges for business banking (50%);
  • Good interest rates (35%);
  • Advanced digital features (34%)
  • A personal connection through a relationship manager at the bank (30%).

However, the findings show that 41% of SMEs have never switched their business bank account, rising to 53% among micro-businesses with less than 50 employees. Although 55% of those polled said they are satisfied with their current business bank account, 49% of dissatisfied SMEs have never actually switched.

Pay.UK offers a free Current Account Switch Service for small businesses with a turnover of up to £6.5 million and small charities with an annual income of less than £6.5 million.

Written by Rachel Miller.

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