SME confidence has continued to drop amid huge political uncertainty, as well as ongoing turmoil on the high street.
The findings, from the latest Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) Small Business Index, show that almost 60 per cent of SMEs say that the state of the domestic economy poses a barrier to expansion.
Access to appropriately skilled staff (36 per cent), lack of consumer demand (29 per cent) and labour costs (21 per cent) are also frequently flagged as significant barriers to growth.
The index also shows that UK small business confidence has fallen to -9.9, the lowest level since 2011. Accommodation and food services, retail and manufacturing recorded the lowest readings across all sectors.
FSB National Chairman Mike Cherry said: “How have politicians allowed it to come to this? Two and half years on from the Brexit vote and small businesses are looking ahead to Brexit day with no idea of what environment they’ll be faced with in less than ten weeks’ time.
“The danger of a serious economic shock posed by a chaotic no-deal Brexit is real and imminent. It’s time for politicians to stop the in-fighting and agree on a cross-party way forward.
“The current uncertainty is making it impossible for firms to plan, hire and invest. That’s feeding into wider concern about the economy at large. We won’t see GDP growth pick-up again until there’s some certainty about how the business environment will change in the coming months.
“Come the beginning of April, small firms will not only have Brexit day to worry about but also Making Tax Digital, a higher living wage, rising auto-enrolment contributions and further business rates hikes. This will be a flashpoint for a lot of businesses, threatening the futures of many.”
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.