41 Finance Monthly. Bank i ng & F i nanc i a l Se r v i ce s Kaushalya Somasundaram, Executive Director & UK Head of Payments Partnerships & Industry Relations at Square, speaks to Finance Monthly about how SMEs can sustain recovery. The number of people shopping in stores is predicted to drop as the cost of living continues to rise. Challenges may lie ahead for businesses both big and small across the UK, with recent research finding that 71% of SMEs view inflation as their biggest cause for concern this year. New data from Square has also revealed a trend of “lunchflation” in the UK. Lunch item prices are rapidly increasing, with rates jumping by 3% year on year with soups leading the way, with an average mark-up of 36% as of March 2022. This is a clear indicator of recent setbacks for businesses from the past two years. The upcomingmonths are likely to look as tumultuous as the start of the year, however, there are actions business owners and leaders can take to safeguard themselves against unprecedented challenges and enable continued recovery as businesses navigate the post-pandemic world. Implementing tech to streamline operations is a strong starting point and also acts as a foundation to grow and pivot a business.