A new mobile app to help SMEs avoid late payment penalties has been launched by PwC in a pioneering collaboration with Edinburgh tech firm Bemo.
The collaboration came after Bemo participated in PwC’s SCALE programme, which aims to bridge the gap between large businesses seeking innovative technology solutions, and smaller firms looking to scale-up.
SCALE launched in Scotland last year in partnership with technology incubator Codebase. Bemo is one of more than 100 businesses now based at Codebase in Edinburgh.
The launch forms an integral part of PwC’s expansion into the provision of digital services for private businesses. And it has been developed in conjunction with the firm's My Financepartner initiative, which provides tailored accounting services to SMEs.
A PwC branded app, My Returns Reminder is available free of charge and notifies firms in advance of HMRC payment deadlines. This includes PAYE, corporation tax, confirmation statements, annual accounts and VAT payments.
Through the use of Companies House details, the app is able to send proactive alerts to business users’ phones ahead of all deadlines selected by the user.
As with all SCALE participants, experts from PwC worked with Bemo to understand the business, its strengths and what drives its leadership team. This led to the realisation that the technology Bemo could deliver was not just of interest to PwC clients, but to the firm itself.
Douglas Shand, head of innovation and technology at PwC in Scotland, said:
“The launch of My Returns Reminder is a significant moment for our SCALE programme as it embodies what we are trying to achieve by illustrating how innovation works in modern business.
“When PwC realised there was demand for such an app, Bemo was the obvious choice for collaboration. If we hold our SCALE partners up as exemplars then we should be ready to step up ourselves to collaborate with them, and that is what we’ve done here.
“Since PwC launched its partnership with Codebase in March 2017, we have continually been blown away by the talent of its tenants.
“Bemo is just one of a number of Scottish firm who are demonstrating the potential of the tech scene in Scotland, and how the talent exists to make the country a true global leader. We can’t wait to see what the company does next.”
Ian Marshall, Senior Financepartner at PwC in Scotland, added:
“My Returns Reminder has the potential to help thousands of businesses across the UK. The app is an example of the innovative type of support provided by our Digital Private Business service, which is providing solutions for all manner of start-up and scale-up companies.
“And in the example of My Returns Reminder, not only are we providing a service for companies with a taxable profit of less than £1.5 million, but we’re also utilising the expertise of a start-up business which has an impressive track record of developing software solutions for business.”
Bemo, founded in 2010 by Matt Farrugia, develops software for small businesses as well as major clients including Tesco Bank, Skyscanner, BBC, STV and Udacity. It has even worked with the Scottish Government.
“My Returns Reminder makes it easier for small business owners to meet obligatory deadlines. When we first engaged with PwC on the project, we spoke to the target market, and those SME owners told us they wanted a form of peace of mind as they have a responsibility to meet those deadlines. The app is essentially a must-do made easier.
“As a collaboration it showcases the strength of PwC’s SCALE programme. In addition to leading us to work with the firm, the programme got us in front of large businesses, and that has led to a number of follow-up conversations and new business for Bemo.”
Scotland, PwC United Kingdom
Tel: (0)141 355 4000