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Help to Grow: Digital scheme expands to single-employee businesses

The government’s Help to Grow: Digital scheme, which offers discounts worth up to thousands of pounds on approved digital accounting software for UK businesses, is now expanding its reach.

Previously, only businesses with a minimum of 5 employees
were eligible for the scheme, but it’s now open to businesses with just 1 employee. This means that many more businesses with only one employee can now access discounts and support for digital services through the scheme.

This blog explains the latest Help to Grow: Digital
changes, who can access it, and which support services are available – plus some advice on why your business accounts should be going digital.

How is the Help to Grow: Digital scheme changing?

From 25th July 2022, all businesses in the UK with at least 1 employee can now join the Help to Grow: Digital scheme. This eligibility criteria extension means that around 760,000 more businesses can benefit for the first time, boosting the total number of eligible businesses to 1.24 million.

Additionally, new eCommerce software has been added to the scheme’s list of approved software. This allows businesses to access even more types of software to help them make online sales, manage their inventories, and reach new markets.

Registering for Help to Grow: Digital opens opportunities for discounts up to £5,000
on your choice of 30 types of software from 14 leading suppliers, including Digital Accounting, CRM (Customer Relationship Management), and now eCommerce software.

Though the service isn’t live yet, the government will also be launching advice platforms, so small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) can receive one-to-one advice on adopting digital technology into their business operations. You can apply to take part in the pilot here.

Who can get a Help to Grow: Digital discount?

To access a 50% discount worth up to £5,000 (not including VAT) on approved software, businesses from any sector must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Based in the UK and registered with Companies House or the Financial Conduct Authorities Mutuals Register.
  • Incorporated and actively trading for over 12 months (at least 365 days prior to application).
  • Have at least 1 employee who isn’t an owner (up to 249 employees).
  • Be purchasing the software from the approved list for the first time.

You can choose one software product from the list, which is split into three categories. The discount will then cover 12 months of core costs for the software, excluding VAT.

There are currently 14 approved technology providers, most of which offer multiple versions of their software packages to suit different needs. These include the following providers:

  • e-Commerce software – BigCommerce, Comgem, EKM, Gob2b, Shopwired, Kentico
  • CRM software
    – Capsule, Deskpro, Gold-Vision, SwiftCase, Zym
  • Digital Accounting software – Crunch, Intuit Quickbooks, Sage

The type you need depends on how you want to grow your business – you can find guidance for this on the Help to Grow: Digital website. These software packages are designed to help with storing custom data, tracking and sharing financial information, and fulfilling online sales.

Should your business switch to a digital tax system?

Smaller businesses are less likely to have adopted digital technology due to the financial investment required, which leaves them falling behind other businesses with more resources. The Help to Grow: Digital discount helps small businesses like this to improve their operations and boost their growth.

Adopting new technology can allow businesses to become more innovative and break into new markets, becoming more profitable through increased productivity and cost-efficiency. This will also create more job opportunities across the UK, potentially adding billions to the British economy.

Statistics show that, on average, users of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software boost their productivity by 18%. Meanwhile, Digital Accounting software leads to an average increase in employee sales of 11.8%
over 3 years, and an average of 7.5%
for eCommerce software.

The government plans to continue expanding the Help to Grow: Digital service, with guidance available to help even the least tech-savvy small business owners to catch up with modern markets. If you’re not the best at computing and the thought of cloud accounting
sets your mind in a spin, why not contact GBAC, accountants in Barnsley, for help with going digital? Get in touch to find out what we can do for you.