SME news in brief: training, finance, accountancy, HR

SME news in brief
SME news in brief

Workers spend more time on tea breaks than in training

Over a million (1,064,598) of the UK's employees are spending more time on tea breaks than on any form of work-based training.

This is according to the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT), which also found almost a third (30%) of staff (912,513) have never had any form of work-related finance training. Given this situation, nearly four in ten (38%) employees admit they search online to find out how to do their jobs better, in their own time.

The survey of 2,000 workers, half who are employees and half of whom are managers working in finance/accountancy-related roles, also found discrepancies between their attitudes towards training at work. A fifth of managers admit they think training their staff will only help them develop their own careers, not benefit their current role. Moreover, a quarter (27%) believes training is good in principle, but disruptive in practice.

Online business finance marketplace for SMEs secures funding

Platform Black, an online business finance marketplace for UK SMEs, has secured a £5 million investment from its parent company, GLI Finance which has subscribed for five million preference shares. This move strengthens the Platform Black balance sheet and positions the company for continued growth.

GLI Finance chief executive Andy Whelan said: “We’re delighted to announce our additional investment in Platform Black…Our expertise as one of the leading investors in the sector will ensure we’re able to work closely with the company to drive the next phase of its growth as it continues to deliver its compelling proposition to UK SMEs.”

SME roles for accountants on the rise

Vacancies for accounting and finance professionals rose by 24% across the UK in the first quarter of 2016 compared to the same period last year, largely driven by demand from SMEs.

The latest Robert Walters UK Jobs Index has revealed that, despite a degree of uncertainty in the financial markets, employers across a range of industries and sectors continued to recruit finance professionals to support the growth of their businesses in the first three months of 2016.

Accounting and Finance recruitment associate director Richard Boyd comments: “The figures for the first quarter are encouraging, suggesting that businesses are looking to invest in top finance and accounting talent.…In particular small to medium sized businesses are looking to recruit at these more senior levels, with high demand for finance managers, finance controllers and group financial controllers being apparent.”

HR departments dealing with wider range of issues

Nearly one in seven HR staff has felt physically threatened at work highlighting growing concerns about the impact of disputes in the workplace

A study from MetLife Employee Benefits shows found 47% of HR departments have seen an increase in the number of disputes among staff over the past two years as stress in the workplace became a major concern. Around 56% of HR departments say stress has increased in their organisation.

Disputes among staff are not confined to employees – 26% of HR departments say they have had to mediate in fall-outs between senior management while 27% have had to deal with bust-ups among employees.

MetLife Employee Benefits believes this research highlights the growing burden on HR departments, as they are now having to deal with a wider range of issues. This underlines the need for organisations to focus on training and support for staff to help them cope with stress.