There’s little doubt now that the UK economy is on the mend. The CBI’s latest Growth Indicator showed output volumes in the three months to February growing at their fastest pace since records began; the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has confirmed GDP grew strongly in the fourth quarter; and British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said it expects the economy to finally match its 2008 peak in the second quarter.
Businesses are yet to feel the effect of the lending boom.
Although UK mortgage lending during April was 36 per cent higher than a year previous, net lending to companies has fallen for almost seven consecutive years.
Increasing international trade amongst small and growing businesses is high on the UK government’s agenda, and with good reason — a much cited CBI report recently revealed that businesses are 11% more likely to survive if they export. There is no doubt that trading across borders can bring exciting growth opportunities, driving competitiveness and supporting long term business sustainability. However, exposure to opportunity also brings exposure to risk, particularly in dealings with foreign currencies. Small businesses should enter into international trade with their eyes open, an understanding of the potential risks and a plan for how to mitigate against their potential impact on all-important profit margins.
According to a recent report by UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), the technology sector is one of the largest wealth creators in the UK and has become one of the fastest growing business sectors over the last decade. Most tech companies tend to be clustered in London and the South East with Wokingham attracting the highest cluster of tech company employment outside of London.
Only 4% of business owners ever reach a turnover in excess of £1M. And only 10% of these businesses (that’s 0.4% of all business owners) ever reach the £10M mark.
It’s not easy to second guess exactly why someone wants to invest in your company but you can usually take more than a fair stab at guessing – they love your product/service, they think you’ll be great at the helm or they are convinced there is a gap in the market for your proposition etc. There are a few reasons that come up time and time again though and here’s what they are.
Broadband is the second service set up by individuals in a new home – only electricity is deemed more important. So why are many property developers and landlords still failing to ensure the quality and reliability of both broadband and mobile services in new buildings? In an era of ubiquitous mobile coverage, tenants are far from impressed to discover the use of modern insulation and tinted windows effectively blocks any mobile signal entering the building; whilst the lack of good broadband when speeds of 1Gb are now available, can only be blamed on poor planning.
For anyone getting started in business, setting up a business account will be a crucial stage. Many start-ups leave decisions around this too late, unaware of potential complications and time delays this can involve, at a time when they want to concentrate on getting their businesses up and running.
It may sound painfully obvious but, for any business, getting the finances right is critical. If the owner doesn’t have a good handle of the finances, it won’t thrive and grow. However, our own research found that almost one quarter of all the business owners and leaders asked stated that finances and accounting was their biggest cause of stress, while 20% admitted to having forgotten to invoice for a job. In total, this means small businesses in the UK are losing out on potential revenue of around £3.7 billion – a staggering amount. Clearly, therefore, many firms are struggling.
Richard Ransom, Product Marketing Manager, Bottomline Technologies, considers whether the ability to now embed strong DD control and management within the payment process will make 2014 the year of the B2B Direct Debit.
With the start of the new tax year now underway, it’s the perfect time to think about how you can boost your business over the next 12 months.
But what areas should you actually be looking at that will help your business run more effectively in the year ahead? Emily Coltman FCA, Chief Accountant to FreeAgent – which provides an award-winning online accounting system for small businesses and freelancers – highlights five changes to make in your business that could have a major impact on your performance.
Are you one of the many self-employed people in the UK who works from their own home?
If so, then there’s good news for you: you’re entitled to include part of the running costs of your home in your accounts, which will save you some tax. But how do you work out exactly how much you can claim?