Only 10% of Retail Businesses Are Utilizing Artificial Intelligence, According to ScaleFactor ‘State of SMB Finance’ Report

  • Small and mid-size retail businesses are hiring employees but avoiding technology adoption and implementation
  • 82% of retail SMBs don’t currently employ a full-time dedicated CFO
  • Retail businesses do have the highest rate of new hires amongst vertical industries surveyed, with 22% of businesses reporting two to three new employees hired in the past 12 months

AUSTIN, Texas--()--ScaleFactor, the automated accounting and finance platform for small business, today announced retail insights garnered from its inaugural ‘State of SMB Finance’ report.

The State of SMB Finance report obtained insights from 500 randomly selected principal decision-makers across a spectrum of U.S.-based SMBs with less than or equal to 500 employees, 28% of which work in retail or wholesale.

One of the key findings the report identified is that retail businesses are the most reluctant to implement artificial intelligence (AI) or machine learning (ML) solutions into their workflow, with just 10% adopting and 40% indicating they are not interested in this technology. Despite disinterest, 44% of retail businesses said they do not find the process of implementing AI or ML challenging, the highest of all industries.

“Small businesses are finding increased value in adopting technology solutions to assist in the back office as customer demand for quickness and e-commerce solutions increase,” said Kurt Rathmann, founder and CEO of ScaleFactor. “ScaleFactor’s platform is easy for SMB owners to understand while providing a crucial service that allows them to focus on scaling their business instead of getting bogged down by paperwork or stuck at a desk.”

For those that do implement technology solutions, 85% of SMBs reported it was utilized primarily for bookkeeping. Additionally, retail SMBs reported the highest tech usage for financial forecasting purposes, with almost double the amount of technology implementation versus other industries.

ScaleFactor State of SMB Finance Report Key Retail Findings

  • 82% of retail SMBs don’t currently employ a full-time dedicated CFO
  • Using a credit card and reinvesting company profits were the most-used methods to fund growth during the past year
  • 81% of businesses have no plans to hire a CFO this year
  • Personal savings is considered the top source for funding future growth, as compared to the professional services industry which is more likely to use a credit card
  • 33% of businesses have an accounting consultant/fractional CFO
  • The hiring rate for retail businesses is the highest, with 22% reporting two to three new employees hired in the past 12 months
  • Salary costs are reported as the top impediment to hiring, followed closely by skills shortage

“Small businesses need support to grow their business,” said Bradley Day, president of HELM Boots, a ScaleFactor customer. “We partnered with ScaleFactor so we can focus on our core business while the experts take care of all our back-office financial needs. Without the support that we received from ScaleFactor over the last few years, we would not be in the position we are in today.”

For more information or to download the full report, please visit: ScaleFactor's State of SMB Finance.

About ScaleFactor

ScaleFactor is the essential business OS, offering the most comprehensive view of your business finances. We’re always on and always up to date, so you always know exactly where your business stands. We alert you to what needs attention and make proactive suggestions with your bottom line in mind. Get back to business with the confidence that ScaleFactor is on your side. See how at


Ale Valeriano
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