Stop by for our latest thoughts

Muse Launches Its App In Beta And Welcomes Government Changes

by Ali Steed19 Jun, 2019← Back To Blog

Muse is thrilled to announce the launch of its small business app in Beta format, and we are now inviting companies who express an interest in our development to sign up as early adopters.

Muse is designed to help businesses thrive in their early years, when difficulties such as accessing finance and late payments cause major suffering for business owners and can result in a business closing down.

New measures announced today by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (DBEIS) - including company boards being held directly responsible for late payments for the first time - should go a long way to helping these businesses. However, the proposals for new powers for the Small Business Commissioner to tackle late payments through fines and binding payment plans would be more effective, if put in place. 

Ann Juliano, CEO and founder of Muse, said: “There have been Government measures in place to help smaller businesses with the pain of late payments for some time, but they do not seem to have been effective. While late payments have halved in five years, according to the Government, other statistics from Dun & Bradstreet show the average amount owed in late payments actually increased by 25% in 2018.

“It shows far too many companies are still suffering at the hands of larger corporations and unfairly puts many of Britain’s 5.7m SMEs at constant risk.

“Making boards responsible for these practices should focus minds, and it would be great to see the late payment culture in the UK eradicated. We know from research by the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) that small businesses spend an average of 20 days a year chasing late payments – that is unacceptable. We hope these changes will reduce this time and the number of late payments even further, but only time will tell.

“This particular issue, and the amount of admin small business owners have to deal with more generally, is the main reason we developed the Muse app.”

Our app is set to change face of British business as firms will soon be able to access invoice finance at the touch of a button, removing one of the biggest threats to their survival.

Nearly 57% of businesses fail in their first five years, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), and late payments remain a significant issue. In fact, a third of businesses told the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy that late payments were an ‘obstacle’ to the success of the business. This is despite Government initiatives designed to encourage large companies particularly to play fair when it comes to paying SME invoices.

Ms Juliano, said: “We want to take away some of the stresses that small business owners feel, especially when they start their business. The worldwide average for business administration time is 146 days a year – that is time they could be using to move their business forwards. UK businesses collectively are spending £76.6 billion a year on payment processing, invoices and chasing late payments (see calculation note below). These hidden costs are extortionate, and why cutting this type of admin is so vital.” The idea for Muse came when Ms Juliano set up her own business, and the amount of chasing required to get simple admin tasks completed became a real burden. She has based the initial development of the app on some of the frustrations she suffered then.

These developments include:

  • Real-time cash flow forecasting

  • Onboarding – including Know Your Customer and Anti-Money Laundering all completed online in minutes rather than the weeks traditional banks take

  • Access to invoice finance within the app

  • Invoice and expense management

Ms Juliano said: “Real-time cash flow forecasting is so important for businesses, yet many of them do no form of forecasting at all. Much of this will be due to a lack of tools to make this easy to achieve.

“This is why the Muse app provides this information in real-time, so at any stage you can see exactly what is due to come in, how much is due to go out and when, and whether you have enough money in the coffers to cover the cost of bills you have to pay.”

Muse has also begun a new funding round, and we are looking for investors who are keen to join our journey.

We hope to raise a minimum of £1.5m before September, and while we already have a number of investors on board, we would like to meet additional investors who are keen to help small businesses thrive.

The additional facilities available after the app’s next development phase will include in-app invoice finance at the touch of a button, plus integrated multi-currency accounts.

Ms Juliano said: “We know Muse has the ability to create a totally different working environment for small business owners, one that will take away so many of the stresses they currently face. Small businesses are the backbone of the British economy, and the more we can help them, the better for everyone.

"Investors are excited to become a part of the Muse journey. It is going to be hugely rewarding developing the next stage of our business. We are looking forward to welcoming them on board and working with them to help Britain’s businesses succeed. Let’s go UK!”

If you are interested in investing in Muse, you can find out more about the app and its development here.

Or if you are interested in becoming an early adopter, please click here and we will be in touch.

Calculation note: Using the data in this Sage document: UK firms spend an average of $47,000 a year on administrative tasks, with 36% of that time spent on payment processing, invoices and chasing late payments.

To generate this figure, Muse has taken that average across all 5.7m UK SMEs and referenced just 36% of this figure. So, the overall cost of payment processing, invoices and chasing late payments is $96.4 billion or £76.6 billion at a rate of exchange of US$1 = £0.79 as at 19.6.19 1300hrs.