The Prime Minister announced a delay to the Meaningful Vote in Parliament last week, which came as the latest Federation of Small Businesses’ (FSB) quarterly Small Business Index (SBI) figures revealed that SME confidence had plummeted to a seven-year low amid uncertainty.
According to the FSB index, confidence amongst SMEs has fallen to -9.9 in Q4 2018, its lowest point since 2011. 43 per cent of those surveyed expect a slowdown in their performance over the coming three months, a 30 per cent increase since the summer. The number of small and medium sized exporters expecting internal sales to drop has reached 30 per cent, up 14 percentage points compared to Q4 2017.
Skills shortages are intensifying, as EU net migration to the UK reaches a six-year low. 36 per cent of SMEs are citing lack of access to appropriately skilled staff as a barrier to growth – the highest percentage since 2015.
Despite the uncertainty, 16 per cent say they are hiring, 29 per cent have increased wages by more than 4 per cent, and 50 per cent of SMEs still aspire to grow their businesses over the coming 12 months. The FSB National Chairman Mike Cherry describes these findings as “a testament to the resilience and grit of small business owners right across the UK.”
In this volatile economic climate, it is important for SMEs to put measures in place to survive and thrive. Business owners need accurate, reliable and timely financial information, whether that be profit or cash focused, or both, to accurately and effectively manage the company’s finances and drive growth.
Speak to our SME business specialists about how we can help to identify your requirements and then design and implement a system which will provide all the information you need, within a cost effective and efficient framework.