SMEs are confident but need certainty to flourish
Members of the UK200Group of independent accountancy and law firms have said SMEs are confident, just uncertain about what the future holds.
The members have spoken out following the Federation of Small Businesses’ (FSBs) latest Small Business Index, which found SME confidence at the lowest levels since 2013.
The fall in confidence has been steepest in London and the East of England, but all regions of the UK have seen declines, with Scotland and Northern Ireland experiencing the lowest levels overall.
Jonathan Russell, partner at UK200Group member firm ReesRussell, said:
“I have not seen any loss of confidence in SMEs, but there is an increasing awareness by smaller businesses that there is no quick fix and any improvement in their own businesses will only be from their own hard work and efforts.
“Many see their success in the future as a result of their work, rather than the result of government policy.
“Many small businesses are spending more time, energy and money on new regulations and costs brought in by the government, which have no benefit to businesses.
“These include the national living wage, auto-enrolment and more recently the digital tax accounts; all of which are an increasing administrative and fiscal burden.
“In addition, we have the uncertainty created by the government over the EU referendum. The government are not giving any indication of what they would do if there was a vote to leave and is therefore failing in a fundamental duty to remove uncertainty.”
Anthony Harris, chairman at UK200Group member firm Critchleys, said:
“I do not find small businesses to be lacking confidence. There is so much growth around them and they are all busy, making new customers and growing their businesses.
“SME’s thrive on risk; otherwise they would not be in business. Uncertainty is a part of risk and it is up to us to interpret it and drive forwards.
“However, It would be good for the ‘uncertainty’ and the ‘risks’ to be closer to home, rather than created by regulations (and tax laws) dictated to us by some bureaucrat far, far away.”