The continued uncertainty surrounding Brexit, the impending impact of Making Tax Digital and the increasing role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) are adding pressure to small businesses and accounting practices, causing many small business owners to feel anxious and risk-averse.
We wanted to get a better insight into how this added pressure is impacting UK companies, so we surveyed 1500 small business owners or key business decision-makers in the UK. All respondents had sales revenues between £20k and £20m. A quarter of these were one-person small businesses. The remaining three quarters had between two to 49 employees.
We asked whether they felt Brexit and the changes that the Government will need to make in the next 12 months will have a negative impact on their businesses.
On average, 31% of small business owners in the UK think that the impending changes will indeed impact business negatively.
Scottish small businesses and their accountants are the most concerned
Looking at the data by region, Scotland’s small business owners are most concerned, with 46% thinking Brexit will have a negative impact on their businesses. More than one third of business owners in London and the North West are pessimistic in the face of Brexit with 33% and 36% respectively believing that Brexit and the changes that the government will need to make in the next 12 months will have a negative impact on their business.
By comparison, Wales is the most optimistic about the UK’s imminent exit from the EU with just 20% showing concern. Those in the North-East are also quite optimistic, with only 26% citing concerns.
Beyond Brexit – what should small businesses focus on?
It is to be expected that small businesses should feel unsure about Brexit – especially when the details of it are yet to be confirmed. However, businesses that harness technology to make their operations more efficient and agile will be in a better position to face whatever challenges Brexit may bring.