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How the Help to Grow: Digital scheme can boost your business

As businesses continue to recover from the pandemic, the UK government has launched the Help to Grow: Digital scheme. This initiative supports small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to digitalise their businesses, providing impartial advice and discounts on accounting and customer relationship management (CRM) software from approved providers.

Starting from January 2022, eligible businesses can apply for Help to Grow: Digital and its partner scheme Help to Grow: Management. Lack of knowledge and expense are some of the biggest barriers preventing businesses from growing through digitalisation, but these schemes should be a game-changer in accessibility and productivity.

So, how can Help to Grow: Digital boost your business in 2022? This blog explains everything you need to know about Help to Grow, from how it works to how to apply.

What is the Help to Grow: Digital scheme?

First announced ahead of the budget in March 2021, the new Help to Grow: Digital service opened on 20th January 2022. The UK-wide scheme is designed to help businesses manage their finances and boost sales through improved customer services – all thanks to proven digital technologies.

Help to Grow: Digital offers guidance to business owners unsure about which technology is the most suitable or how they would use it for their business. For those eligible, there is also a Help to Grow discount of 50% on one approved software package (up to a maximum of £5,000, excluding VAT).

This helps with the costs of incorporating the software over the first 12 months, giving businesses the tools they need to thrive in a digitally dependent market. In addition to customer and financial management services, further products should be available soon, including e-commerce software.

The scheme runs alongside the separate Help to Grow: Management course, which provides 12 weeks of training at leading business schools around the UK for just £750. This complementary initiative teaches staff new management skills and explores strategies for growing and innovating.

Who is eligible for the Help to Grow: Digital scheme?

All UK businesses can access the Help to Grow: Digital
website for free advice on adopting digital technologies. However, in order to successfully apply for the Help to Grow: Digital discount, your business must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Based in the UK (operating in any business sector)
  • Incorporated and trading for more than 12 months (365 days)
  • Registered with Companies House (or the Financial Conduct Authority’s Mutuals Register)
  • Employing between 5 and 249 employees
  • First-time buyer of the approved software

Unfortunately, you cannot access the discount if you have already purchased the software yourself. Only the qualifying business can use the non-transferable discount, and it will not count towards VAT. After successfully applying, you’ll have 30 days to redeem the discount.

Software suppliers can also apply to offer their services to small businesses through Help to Grow: Digital. To qualify, you must be a GDPR-compliant business trading for at least 12 months, with demonstrably effective cyber security and an existing customer base in the UK.

How will Help to Grow: Digital actually help businesses?

Many businesses had to fall back on online services during the pandemic to comply with lockdown and social distancing rules. Those who were able to adapt didn’t just survive the shutdowns – they grew up to eight times faster than other businesses who didn’t have the appropriate digital tools.

The government believes that increasing SME productivity through technological investment will support hundreds of thousands of jobs and lead to billions in revenue and economic output. With the software available through Help to Grow: Digital, businesses can automate processes like:

  • Generating invoices and tracking expenditure
  • Monitoring stock levels and order materials
  • Managing employee rosters and holidays
  • Storing information safely in one central, secure location
  • Using data collection to reach new customers

Reducing time wasted on repetitive manual administration allows businesses to focus on their core operations instead. Fewer mistakes and more free time will allow you to develop and implement new strategies, making smarter and faster decisions to grow and thrive. Not only can you manage your accounts digitally, but you can make the most of selling online and building a customer base.

How to apply for the Help to Grow: Digital scheme

You don’t have to apply to access the business technology guidance – simply visit the Help to Grow: Digital website to explore software solutions for free.

If you believe that your business is eligible for the Help to Grow: Digital discount, you can apply online. Use the ‘compare software’ tool to identify the package you want, then complete the application by providing the required information.

This includes details about your chosen software, your business, and yourself as the applicant. You’ll need to verify your business email address and provide your Companies House or Financial Conduct Authority Mutuals Public Register number.

After passing eligibility and fraud checks, you’ll receive a link to the supplier’s website, where you can view a breakdown of costs and apply the discount to complete your purchase.

Here at gbac, we understand that cloud computing
doesn’t come easy to everyone. This is why our specialist cloud accounting
team is happy to help businesses who may be struggling to implement accounting software such as Sage or QuickBooks.

If you would prefer to outsource your financial management to the experts, we offer a range of bookkeeping
and payroll
services at gbac. To learn more about how we can help your business go digital, GBAC – accountants in Barnsley – are here to help. Please do not hesitate to get in touch on 01226 298 298 if you have any questions. Our accountants in Leeds and accountants in Sheffield are happy to help too.