Small and micro enterprises are bearing the brunt of the pandemic’s economic fallout. However, the majority of professionals who say they have accelerated or maintained their digital transformation strategy believe they can overcome their financial difficulties. Orange Bank’s acquisition of Anytime, a start-up dedicated to the needs of professionals and associations, aims to use digital technology to make financial management easier for small businesses, Damien Dupouy, co-founder of Anytime, explains more.
How can digital financial services help professionals in their daily lives?
Damien Dupouy - Invoice tracking, managing cash flow, editing quotes... admin tasks are essential but often time-consuming for professionals. This is why Anytime offers them financial services tailored to their needs. Our platform provides traditional payment services as well as end-to-end support.
We offer two business start-up assistance packages. If our customers have already opted for a specific business structure, we can help them with their working capital deposit certificate, which is essential for filing articles of association in France. But we can also help entrepreneurs choose which type of business is suited to their activity: SARL, SAS, sole ownership... It is not always easy to navigate! We work with expert partners who can advise them and draft their articles of association or shareholders’ agreement, etc.
These services enjoyed record success last year, with the launch of micro-enterprises at an all-time high in light of the crisis – some employees having lost their jobs, while others are looking for new ways to prepare for their futures.
Our support continues throughout the company’s lifetime, with digital management solutions that considerably lighten and streamline the daily lives of freelancers and business leaders: online accounting, invoicing and accounts receivable tools, factoring partnerships, etc. This is really appealing to customers who are looking for the answers to certain specific needs, such as managing expense reports or virtual debit cards, for example.
In the current context, marked by lockdowns and curfews, how are your financial services helping to make small businesses more digital?
D. D. - Our services are 100% online, accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can open an account any time, even when the banks are closed.
Since the beginning of the crisis, we’ve seen a strong demand for our virtual cards and remote payment solutions. There’s been a decrease in activity but no increase in bankruptcies compared to 2019. Overall, transactions increased dramatically again after each lockdown. Professionals, like individuals, have turned to online shopping.
The health crisis has accelerated our thinking around an alternative to cash payments. We’re helping many retailers adopt e-commerce, assisting them in revising their commercial strategy and guiding them towards the digital tools most suited to their activity, reducing their risk of making mistakes. It also offers real gains in time and performance.
With Orange, we want to go a step further by offering them turnkey solutions to create their websites.
The health crisis has accelerated our thinking around an alternative to cash payments. We’re helping many retailers adopt e-commerce, assisting them in revising their commercial strategy.
How will your services enable professionals to focus on business continuity or recovery in the coming months?
D. D.: Our fees are low - that's a plus. Our approach is to listen and educate our customers to reassure them. For example, from 1 April we’ll be extending our customer service, which is available by chat or by phone, from Monday to Saturday, from 8am to 10pm.
With Orange Bank, we’re also developing a credit offer which helps entrepreneurs with high fixed costs to launch or develop their activity. At the same time, we’re establishing partnerships with insurers and considering new cybersecurity services, digital safes and even website creation with the Group.
The merger with Orange and Orange Bank is an opportunity to become a leader in the digital transformation of this sector.