News

Our small business news section covers the latest reports, research, stories and updates on regulations that affect the UK’s small and medium enterprises.

Businesses Urged To Offer Benefits As Financial Pressure Among Staff Rises

Businesses Urged To Offer Benefits As Financial Pressure Among Staff Rises

UK small business owners have been urged to consider what benefits they can possible offer their employees, as financial pressures rise. According to the Employee Benefits Trends Study 2017 by MetLife UK, 55% of UK workers  say they highly value the benefits they receive at work – a 25% increase from the same survey in 2015. Encouragingly, 52% of business owners now understand the personal financial pressures on their employees – and this is prompting them into action. Not just for current subordinates, business owners are also utilizing benefits packages in the recruitment process with 73% promoting their additional bonuses while hiring – compared to just 61% in 2015. Its suggested business owners should consider what financial perks they can offer their employees, as just 39%... »

Businesses Warned They’ll Need to Adhere to GDPR Regardless of Brexit

Businesses Warned They’ll Need to Adhere to GDPR Regardless of Brexit

UK businesses are being warned they still need to adhere to the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), despite the fact the UK is set to leave the European Union. According to a survey by Webroot, there is a strong level of misunderstanding among small business owners as to whether the EU-wide legislation, which covers how large businesses hold and store consumer data, will hold any weight in a post-Brexit Britain. Indeed, 43% of businesses admitted they were uncertain whether or not they would have to remain compliant to GDPR after Brexit – with 6% adamant they wouldn’t. Coming into effect on 25 May 2018, the new legislation will, among other things, require firms with more than 250 staff members to hire a data protection officer. However, firms that hold the data of EU citizens w... »

Does Your Business Have Unused Laptops Lying Around? You Could Be Violating Data Law

Does Your Business Have Unused Laptops Lying Around? You Could Be Violating Data Law

UK small businesses that store unused devices such as mobile phones, tablets and laptops could unknowingly be violating corporate governance and data protection laws – according to a report by CORETX. The survey of 100 IT managers revealed that 47% of all small firms have up to 50 devices containing sensitive information that is not stored securely – with 23% admitting they are unable to accurately predict how many neglected pieces of tech they currently possess. While this might not seem too much of a problem on first glance, when analysing the type of information being stored – it suggests businesses aren’t doing enough to protect important information while also misusing company equipment. 83% of those surveyed have found concerning, personal data on devices, followed by personal emails... »

New Government Urged To Help Stagnant Services Sector

New Government Urged To Help Stagnant Services Sector

Calls are being made for the incoming government to address the stagnant services sector which is “grinding the economy to a hault” – according to a report by BDO LLP. Its latest Business Trends Report, which projects firms’ order expectations over the next three months, has revealed the BDO Index has fallen to 95.0 in May from 95.3 in April, the lowest level since June 2013. Small businesses within the services industry have reported that growth in their order books has stopped – with the slowdown nearing recessionary conditions. While there has been an overall downward trend since August 2015, it has become more pronounced since the EU referendum last year – with a significant drop in the value of the pound and in consumer spending. In contrast, however, manufacturing output is increasin... »

A Quarter Of Businesses Put A Hold On Any Promotions In Order To Afford National Living Wage

A Quarter Of Businesses Put A Hold On Any Promotions In Order To Afford National Living Wage

A quarter of UK small businesses have put a hold on any employee promotions or pay rises because they can’t afford the national living wage – according to a report by XpertHR. The survey of 212 businesses and 541,340 employees has revealed that 30% of firms had to increase pay for at last some workers in April 2016 – when the minimum wage officially rose from £6.70 to £7.20. At the time of its introduction, workers eligible for the national living wage (who were previously on the national minimum wage for workers aged 21 and over) would have seen their pay increase from £6.70 to £7.20 an hour, an increase of approximately 7.5%. It’s suggested that many businesses failed to plan adequately, or even expect, the rise – and it now appears business owners are taking their financial frustrations... »

Concern Over Internal Fraud Among UK Small Businesses Rises 138% In Just One Year

Concern Over Internal Fraud Among UK Small Businesses Rises 138% In Just One Year

Concerns over internal fraud among UK small businesses has risen 138% in the past 12 months, according to a report by Bottomline Technologies. The UK Business Payments Barometer has revealed that while firms appear to be strengthening their defences – a majority remain in the dark over whether they are actual victims or not. Indeed, 56% of financial decision makers surveyed admit they don’t know if they’ve been targeted by fraudsters or not – suggesting businesses still aren’t doing enough to detect if they are being swindled by their own employees. It suggested that a rise in ‘salami fraud’, where thieves steal minimal amounts of money (even as low as 1p or 2p) that builds up over time, is a possible factor as to why small firm owners remain unsure about internal fraud. Despite the vague ... »

Employees “Pulling A Sickie” Are Costing The UK Economy £900m

Employees “Pulling A Sickie” Are Costing The UK Economy £900m

UK employees who “pull a sickie” are costing the country’s economy £900m every year, according to a report by breatheHR. The survey of 1,002 UK workers and 504 business owners has revealed that 15% of all workers feign illness at least once a year – with 42% of these fakers doing so just because they feel too tired to go to work – while 19% to do to avoid a certain situation, such as a client meeting. Surprisingly, just 46% of those surveyed admit to actually using up all of their holiday allowance, with businesses losing more than 7.5 million working days a year due to impromptu sick leave – which when based on the average UK salary of £27,000, has a combined value of £900m. When it comes to business owners’ attitude to sick employees, 71% admit they would still expect someone to co... »

UK Economy Given Vote Of Confidence Less Than A Week Before General Election

UK Economy Given Vote Of Confidence Less Than A Week Before General Election

With less than one week before the general election, the UK’s economic outlook remains robust – according to a report by Dun & Bradstreet. Its UK Quarterly Industry Report has revealed that Eurostat’s Industrial Confidence Indicator stood at 9.1 in Q1 2017 – the highest level since Q2 2014. While the pound’s value experienced a modest increase after the announcement of the snap election, its value is still significantly down on pre-EU referendum levels. However, its suggested that British exporters have actually benefited from a weakened pound as foreign buyers now preserve UK products to be good value for money, with this trend expected to continue until Brexit has officially happens. Despite some positives for businesses, consumer confidence remains flat, coming in at -4.3 in March s... »

Small Businesses Spend Just 3.6 Hours A Month On Finance

Small Businesses Spend Just 3.6 Hours A Month On Finance

UK small businesses are seriously underestimating the importance of financial management by spending just 3.6 hours on the matter each month – according to a report by KashFlow. The survey of small firms with less than ten employees revealed that while the process of managing money is a stressful one for a significant number of respondents – a strong majority remain confident in their ability to keep on top of things. Indeed, 87% of those surveyed described their bookkeeping as either ‘really good’ or ‘not bad’, with just 6% admitting they were “not good”. Despite their confidence however, 32% of small firms still suffer from the strain and pressure of financial compliance – a strong indicator businesses should allocate a lot more time to financial management. Oliver Shaw, CEO of KashFlow,... »

Shopping Is The Best Therapy: Consumer Confidence High Despite General Election

Shopping Is The Best Therapy: Consumer Confidence High Despite General Election

UK consumer confidence has hit high a four month high despite the political and economic uncertainty caused by the general election – according to a report by GfK. The survey of 2,000 people between 1 May and 15 May has revealed consumer morale has risen to -5 from -7, despite some predictions it would fall to as low as -8. Despite the optimism however, it’s suggested that most of the negative effects of last year’s vote to leave the European Union, such as a weakened pound and high energy costs, have yet to filter through to a majority of households. Furthermore, another report from Lloyds Bank has suggested that small businesses are a lot less optimistic than their customers, with business confidence falling sharply in May to below its long run average – despite hitting a 17-month ... »

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