Half of UK Small Businesses Predict Growth in 2015

Despite confidence, significant percentage of small and medium firms worried red tape and skills shortage will hamper potential Small and mid-sized business confidence is on the rise, according to a new survey, with 50% of business owners predicting an increase in turnover and 21% expecting to recruit more staff in the next 12 months. Despite the positive outlook, the survey, released by energy company npower and featuring a 1,000 small and mid-sized firms, revealed that businesses remain concerned that growth could be delayed by external factors such as a skills-gap, access to funding and government regulation. Nearly half (49%) of the respondents stated that they were worried about the negative effect red tape and legislation could have; 47% of the entrepreneurs stated that lack of bank ... »

New Cambridge & Counties Bank Targets Small Businesses

A new bank focused on helping small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) launches today. The Cambridge & Counties Bank will be providing UK small businesses with loans secured against property, a secured pension lending scheme and a competitive deposit account. Future finance plans include professional firm financing and savings accounts for both retail and non-retail businesses. At a time when many SMEs say they are finding it difficult to secure finance, Cambridge & Counties Bank backs up this premise with an analysis of industry data showing that over 60,000 business loans and business overdraft applications were rejected last year, worth an estimated £3 billion to the country’s SMEs. Gary Wilkinson, the new Cambridge & Counties Bank CEO said: “We have been able t... »

Government Pumps 40M into Cloud Computing

A Government-backed fund to support UK cloud computing businesses has attracted £40 million of investment for British firms with high-growth potential. Notion Capital Fund Two is the largest of 11 Enterprise Capital Funds (ECFs) set up by the Government to pump a mixture of public and private cash into UK business sectors where there is a lack of equity funding. The Notion Capital Fund, which is also supported by the European Investment Fund, has a total value of more than £63 million, £40 million of which will be spent supporting emerging UK companies in the cloud computing and ‘software-as-a-service’ (SaaS) markets. Announcing the size of the fund at the end of the first ECF funding round, business and enterprise minister Mark Prisk said: “It’s a... »

Entrepreneurs Get Helping Hand from Chancellor

Accountants sound note of caution about Enterprise Zones Enterprise Investment Scheme increase ‘very good news’ Moratorium of three years for SMEs on new domestic regulation welcomed Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) have received a much needed boost from the Government at a time when they need it the most, says ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) in response to today’s Budget. Manos Schizas, SME policy adviser at ACCA, says: “The Government’s intentions were clear: to pile on what incentives it could afford in order to ensure the UK economy rebalances into one that is more reliant on enterprise and manufacturing. All of this is of course very welcome.” Advance figures from ACCA’s latest Economic Conditions Survey show that accountants working for ... »

Exporting Overseas Key for SME Growth

Small and Medium businesses (SMEs) should consider expanding overseas to bolster growth. Recent research by ICAEW (Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales) concludes that 70% of UK businesses are looking overseas to further their recovery and that the downturn has increased the pace of globalisation in advanced and emerging economies. With spending cuts and slow growth in the UK have cutting domestic demand, access to new markets is cited as the primary benefit to expanding abroad. Small businesses however need to consider a number of factors before they start the globalisation process. Clive Lewis, ICAEW’s Head of Enterprise, Clive Lewis, said: “The UK is an almost saturated marketplace. Economic growth will be delivered by SMEs and those that look beyond these shore... »

SME Owners Would Pay for a Simpler Tax System

More than half of small-business owners would be willing to pay more tax in exchange for a simplified system with less red tape, research from the Forum of Private Business (FPB) has found. A survey of the FPB’s Tax and Budget focus group revealed that 57% of small-business owners would support a “radical tax simplification programme” even if it meant a larger tax bill. Taxes that respondents pinpointed as onerous included National Insurance (NI), PAYE and business rates. For all three, more than half of business owners thought the administration of the rules and the choice of businesses to target could be improved. FPB research manager, Thomas Parry, said that tax administration is seen as a barrier to growth for small firms. “Small businesses would be prepared to pay a little more ... »

SMEs: Check Records Ahead of HMRC Crackdown

15th January 2011 Small firms should check that their books are in order ahead of a crackdown on those keeping bad tax records, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) has warned. HMRC announced the crackdown in a December consultation document, Business Records Checks, which included plans to investigate the records of 50,000 small businesses every year. Firms not keeping tax records up to date risk paying a penalty of up to £3,000. “HMRC are concerned that record keeping by small businesses has been shoddy, and believe that this will make them keep their records up–to–date all the time,” said ACCA’s head of taxation, Chas Roy–Chowdhury. “There’s a lack of understanding at HMRC of how small businesses operate — books and records are often updated ... »

SMEs Shy Away from Overseas Opportunities

SMEs Shy Away from Overseas Opportunities 16th November 2010 Eight out of ten small businesses are not trading internationally despite the opportunities opened up by the internet, research from ecommerce firm Alibaba has revealed. The Alibaba survey of 1,400 small firms carried out in August 2010 found that 80 per cent were not looking to trade abroad. Those surveyed highlighted their concern about the obstructions they faced — such as the small size of their business or language and cultural barriers. While it may not be suitable for small firms in some sectors to trade internationally, Alibaba general manager, Maggie Choo, said that many could take advantage of the internet to trade overseas. “Small businesses believe that they are ill equipped to compete in the global marketplace,... »

SME Decision Makers Don’t Trust Staff to Work from Home

Some SME decision makers don’t allow their workforce to work from home despite obvious business benefits, according to research carried out online by YouGov, on behalf of NewVoiceMedia. Only 23% of the senior decision makers in SMEs allow all their staff to work from home all the time. Of the respondents who don’t allow their employees to work remotely, the main reason cited (85%) was the need for staff to be physically onsite, while 12% simply don’t have the technology required to allow home working. Disappointingly, 11% of senior decision makers who don’t allow home working stated that it was because they believed their employees would be less productive with five per cent suggesting their staff couldn’t be trusted to do a full day’s work at home. Jonathan Grant, CEO at NewVoiceMedia, sa... »

Social Media Guidelines: Wings and Guardrails for Your Staff

Joe Chernov, Director of Content at Eloqua shares top tips on internal guidelines for using social media One of the reasons social media acumen has become such an organisational priority is because marketers are now able to track actual revenue to their social media, inbound marketing and marketing automation efforts. Yet as marketers turn to social networks to deepen relationships with existing customers while attracting the attention of new prospects, it becomes increasingly important that guidelines are promulgated throughout the company . Increasingly it falls to The Social CMO to ensure all internal teams have a solid understanding of the main dos and don’ts of social media and how their business uses these channels. We believe that the overriding success for use of social media is au... »

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