By Marcus Leach

Exporters would value sector and country market intelligence in order to grow according to the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW).

It comes as research shows that the rise in export activity will stagnate in 2012 due to turmoil in key global markets.

“Small businesses have an important part to play in helping grow the UK economy. We should therefore be doing all we can to encourage and support them in seeking out new overseas markets," Speaking at the launch of the Government’s ‘Exporting for Growth’ conference, Michael Izza, ICAEW Chief Executive, said.

"Growing UK exports is a long term challenge but it is vital to rebuilding our economy and restoring economic fortunes.”

The annual ICAEW UK Enterprise Survey 2011 also showed that 59% of businesses who export grew their exports over the last 12 months. This rise is not set to continue with those anticipating exports not expecting an increase in the next 12 months.

Only 7% of companies who do not currently export are planning to start selling their goods or services internationally over the next two years. This is a worrying sign given that exports are key to economic growth.

“Currently around 20% of small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) export, but we know that many more could benefit from expanding overseas. That is why we will be encouraging ICAEW Chartered Accountants to help UK companies capitalise on international opportunities, ensuring they export profitably and at low risk," Michael Izza added.

The survey also revealed that SMEs looking to export need more information, especially on market intelligence, and details of commercial law. This is the message ICAEW will be taking to Government to ensure more is done to encourage SMEs to internationalise.

“Succeeding in international markets is a long term challenge but it is vital to rebuilding our economy and restoring economic fortunes. Exporters account for the majority of UK productivity, and firms that start to export become, on average, around a third more efficient," Lord Green, Minister of State for Trade and Investment, said.

“According to the ICAEW UK Enterprise Survey 2011 exporters are more likely than non-exporters to expect turnover and profits growth over the next 12 months. This is a clear indication that export will play an important part in the recovery of the UK economy."

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