Nirav is the Co-founder and CEO of CredAble, a FinTech company that is transforming supply chain finance with its various technology-enabled funding programs for stakeholders in corporate supply chains. Nirav has been an entrepreneur for over 18 years and has a demonstrated history of building large successful businesses in the technology, internet, commodities and financial services industry. Skilled in Negotiation, Business Planning, International Business, Management and Fundraising.
With major disruptions caused by the pandemic and other geopolitical issues over the last few years, the SME space has been at the receiving end of the consequences. Shortages in raw materials, rising operating costs, and a severe crunch in working capital are some of the issues that have plagued the sector. However, these disruptions have coincided with a growing trend of Fintech technologies being developed to cater to these problems.
It becomes imperative then for SMEs to keep an eye out for the latest trends in the Fintech space in order to implement and improve their business financials to the best possible extent. The recent developments in the Fintech sector have resulted in the development of end-to-end tech infrastructure for SMEs that helps them manage their finances with greater ease and takes their productivity up several notches.
Top 9 Fintech trends that SMEs need to watch out for
While there have been multiple trends and technologies taking the Fintech sector by storm, listed below are some of the more significant trends that will play a major role in the revival and growth of SMEs.
It’s crucial for SMEs to stay on top of all the latest trends that are propelling the Fintech revolution and redefining the way small businesses manage finance. So, without further ado, let’s dive right in.
1. Digitization of financial services
Small business owners today have access to banking services that provide a transparent view of their finances. Financial institutions with integrated digital services give business owners one single dashboard that integrates with their accounting software in order to provide an overview of all their transactions, cashflows, invoices, and tax return filings. These integrated service packages also provide business insights and information on whether they are eligible for funding. Furthermore, a conscious shift towards digital solutions will help in bridging the gap between unbanked SMEs and financial services.
2. B2B BNPL
Among the Fintech success stories in recent times has been Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL), which has gained momentum among customers and merchants alike. B2B BNPL is now rising to be a compelling financial offering for SMEs who did not have the benefit of working capital and purchase financing previously. Buyers now have the liberty to repay in smaller installments over a fixed period whereas the sellers get an upfront payment from the buyer’s financier.
3. Digital lending
There has also been an influx of lending services offered by Fintech companies that are partnered with reputed lending institutions such as banks and other NBFCs. With the various types of lending offered by such organizations to small businesses, the businesses are capable of now opting for a suitable type of financing model that ensures their safety net and adequate working capital.
4. Embedded finance
Embedded finance enables financial service providers to embed their propositions into other third-party channels. This implies that a business can get access to a range of financial solutions in their banking app. Conversely, they can access financial services from their bank through other channels they interact with. This enables them to conduct different financial transactions simultaneously, thus effectively managing their total working capital.
Embedded finance is the buzz of the Fintech world today as it opens up opportunities for small business financing like never before. With the integration of financial services onto a single digital platform, SMEs can leverage a host of value-added services like financial management solutions and new-age digital tools for analysis. The space is still ripe for new innovations and adaptations by banks. It seems likely that numerous banks and financial institutions will be getting onboard with embedded finance technology very soon.
5. Working capital solutions
Technologies like AI and Machine Learning have enabled financial institutions to explore various supply chain gaps and generate solutions to solve them. Today, the market has numerous Fintech solutions capable of solving working capital gaps of every kind through a myriad of Fintech solutions for invoice financing, invoice discounting, overdraft facilities and supply chain finance.
The cutting edge of the Fintech working capital space is the development of something known as deep tier financing. Since the suppliers of anchor corporations have their own suppliers and so on and so forth, it becomes imperative for a supply chain finance solution that benefits every level of the supply chain. This is exactly what many new technologies are capable of and implemented by Fintech firms such as CredAble. As India’s only holistic working capital tech platform, CredAble’s comprehensive working capital infrastructure offers 360° tech-enabled solutions to meet the growing needs of businesses today.
6. Faster operations
Small businesses have mastered the tactics for quick responses to requests. Hence, they need financial assistance that is equally responsive. Where traditional banks often fail to keep pace with these businesses, Fintech companies and banks that make use of Fintech innovations are capable of setting up bank accounts within minutes. This boosts the quality of service they can offer to fast-moving small businesses and startups.
What’s more, is that traditional banks are now opting to partner with Fintech companies to provide their customers with state-of-the-art interfaces for banking services. For example, many banks are now opting to offer their entire gamut of services through CredAble’s Banking-as-a-Service, or operating system for working capital, which provides a smooth interface for banks to conduct all operations through the entire journey of their customers with ease and proficiency.
7. Introduction of super apps
Gone are the days when one had to use multiple different financial apps for multiple different financial tasks. There are numerous apps that have been developed in recent times that provide the user with the ability to conduct all their accounting, payments and banking transactions through a single app, also known as a “super app”.
UpScale, the SME arm of CredAble is one such super app that provides instant business loans for clients, in addition to a complete overview of all their financials. UpScale also provides numerous other options for the user like verification of GST numbers, PAN numbers, setting up automatic payment reminders, and getting business insights, among others.
8. Real-time payments
Real-time payments are now rapidly becoming a part of the digital-native Fintech landscape. For SMEs that are looking to cut down on costs, leveraging a real-time payments solution is crucial. The financial strain brought on by the pandemic has only increased the tangible value immediacy offers when moving money.
Real-time payments are not just about speed but about inter-connectivity, transparency and efficiency which are essential to set the SMEs on the growth path.
9. Transparent finance
The super apps mentioned above have the capabilities to collect data from various accounting software to aggregate all the user’s financial data in one view. These can include bank transactions, ledgers, credit data and other important data to give the customer a real-time view of their business’s cash position. This in turn allows them to spot and mitigate any potential risks to their businesses in addition to identifying gaps in their working capital. Before such technology, small businesses generally found out about such risks only too late.
UpScale by CredAble is one such app that has been a boon for numerous SMEs by providing them with not just consolidated data in a single view, but also customer insights based on such data. This enables the business owners to know where they must focus more on when it comes to their future strategies.
How can your SME take advantage of Fintech trends?
Accessing working capital through Fintech platforms brings a number of bonuses for SMEs. These range from quicker access to lending to faster processing times, lessening the burden of underwriting. The lending options themselves are more flexible and may be customized for different businesses.
That being said, the Fintech space is in a state of constant flux. SMEs are recommended to constantly stay updated regarding new offerings and innovations in the Fintech space, to spot the solutions they can take advantage of quickly. This will enable them to grow their businesses at a rapid pace and scale up their operations. These Fintech trends are also ensuring SMEs have better access to financial products which in turn is driving financial inclusion in the country.