More SMEs should consider international trade

‘Growing Globally’, a report published by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), shows that as the Government enters the final months of Brexit preparations, it is more imperative than ever that UK small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) utilise available support and finance to trade internationally.

The survey of SMEs and accounting practices around the world has found that a quarter (26 per cent) of UK SMEs are not currently participating in international trade. 

“Internationalisation can potentially bring a range of growth benefits for both a small business and the broader economy, whilst also driving productivity. This is just one of the reasons that providing the required support for UK small businesses to successfully enter international markets has been such a major priority in Brexit preparations,” explains Ben Baruch, Head of SME Policy at the ACCA.

However, he says it is clear that more can be done to support UK SMEs, with more than a quarter not participating at all in international trade, and only two thirds (69 per cent) intending to increase their international trade activities in the coming years.

The report also found that 45 per cent of firms were deterred from international trade activity by a lack of understanding of foreign regulations, while 30 per cent said foreign customs duties and tariffs were an issue.

“It’s imperative that UK policymakers find ways to address this problem in the coming months if UK businesses are to remain competitive in the global market after we exit the European Union,” adds Baruch.

The report also provides some recommendations for SMEs looking to expand their international capability, including:

  • embracing cloud technologies,
  • developing the scalability of the finance function,
  • creating a business strategy with global ambitions, and
  • identifying where external advice could support internationalisation.

Mr Baruch goes on to add that accountants are “one of the most useful resources” for supporting SMEs across all of these areas.

Fluctuating exchange rates and currency volatility represents a risk to SMEs. It is therefore essential that UK business owners maintain effective management of their company’s working capital and put processes in place to survive and thrive in challenging times.

Our experts at Beavis Morgan work with SMEs across a broad range of sectors, assisting with their business plans, establishing the market for their product through research, analysing their financial requirements both now and for the future, and putting processes in place to enhance cashflow, leverage tax smart strategies, minimise risk and drive financial success and business performance.

We are also able to assist businesses to identify and manage both the risks and the opportunities presented by Brexit, helping you to optimise your working capital, and providing guidance on all aspects of business performance, including ensuring that adequate measures are put in place to protect the health of your business, both now and for the future.

Contact Steve Govey or your usual Beavis Morgan Partner for further information about how we can assist.