• A quarter of UK small businesses will replace some employees with AI in the next 12 months 
  • Almost half of all small businesses are intending to hire people with AI skills in 2024 
  • 58% of small businesses are already using AI tools 

New research conducted by Pulse, an innovative lending and data insight platform that supports SMEs, suggests that AI will continue to change the way we work in the coming year – but that it holds as much potential to make jobs as it does to take them.  

In a survey that took in the views of more than 1,500 UK small businesses, 24% of respondents reported their intention to replace some employees with AI in the next 12 months. However, 42% were planning to recruit nor new team members with AI skills. That’s in addition to the 58% who are already using AI tools within their business. Overall, businesses have spent an average of 15% of their profits on AI, with younger owners (aged 18-29) spending as much as 24%.  

With such great focus on AI and personnel changes, businesses are also becoming more aware of the need for a water-tight HR provision. One in five (18%) of those surveyed stated that they were aware that their HR departments were under-resourced and would require investment in the near future. A further 39% admitted that recruitment was a concern for their business. With almost half of those (48%) saying that they were unable to secure the talent their business needs due to tough competition, while a third (32%) said that the inability to recruit was impacting their ability to fulfil business demand.  

Chirag Shah, founder and CEO of Pulse comments: ‘There’s little doubt that AI will change the way that many businesses operate. We’re already seeing its effect in the way that budgets are being allocated and recruitment is being conducted – as well as in the roles that many businesses are recruiting for.  

‘However, while there will undoubtedly be job losses, there will also be plenty of opportunities. But businesses need to be prepared to take advantage of AI has potential and have the right infrastructure in place – including a strong HR team. Data insights and the ability to make clear financial decisions will be essential to that.’ 

About Pulse

Pulse is a game-changing data-insights dashboard dedicated to transforming how businesses navigate their finances and operations, providing a crystal-clear view into your company’s financial health. SMEs can access advanced data-analysis through our AI-driven dashboard – on any device, anywhere, any time.  

Our innovative platform integrates Open Banking and Open Accounting technologies, catering to SMEs, accountants, bookkeepers, brokers and business advisors alike. With Pulse, you get the lowdown on essential money metrics like Turnover Trends, Gross Margin, Debtor/Creditor Ratios, and Income Statements. What’s more, Pulse helps to create bulletproof loan applications by providing the data lenders want, in the exact way they like it. 

Our journey commenced in February 2022, driven by the ambition to democratise financial insights for small businesses. Pulse was officially launched in October 2022, following our impactful debut at Europe’s leading accounting expo. The idea resonated widely, sparking interest and dialogue in the financial community. With guidance from accounting experts, we’ve been on a mission to transform financial reporting.   

Our path has been marked by significant achievements and continuous enhancements, such as building a community of over 7,000 users with more than 35,000 reports sent to-date. Customised to tackle diverse sector challenges, Pulse is a beacon of what’s next in enhancing financial services across the board.