SME’s and the problem with productivity.

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In the latest UK200Group blog post, Martin Williams; George Hay, discusses 3 key issues which SMEs can address to improve productivity.

Martin Williams
Small businesses have a huge role to play within the UK economy, with forecasts predicting that these enterprises will contribute over £217bn to the nation’s pot by 2020.
Despite this fact though, productivity in the UK is still a problem as it currently sits at an all-time low. Improving and maintaining productivity is a challenge faced by businesses, of all sizes, daily.

Here we offer our take on three key issues which can harm productivity and hinder a business’s potential:

1. Facilities

‘Facilities’ is often talked about in the context of both the finances required to get a business off the ground as well as the tangible facilities within a workplace that dictate how it operates.

Securing funding can be a sticking point for many start-ups and scale-ups, as the banks are not always so keen to lend. If funds are inaccessible, then businesses don’t have the freedom to innovate and as a result growth can plateau. It’s important that businesses are aware of the various alternative methods of funding that exist as traditional bank loans are not the only option. However, do not neglect to do your research as rushing into an agreement that offers you a short-term gain but isn’t right for your business in the long-term could do more harm than good.

In terms of the facilities within a workplace, productivity is suffering largely because of technology-related issues. Poor connectivity and technology not functioning as it should can be detrimental to an efficient work environment. Pursuing repairs or indeed taking time out to fix issues themselves means business owners are wasting precious time on tasks that, ultimately, aren’t focussed on profitability. Again, the key to solving this problem is awareness – business owners would benefit from taking advantage of certain services whereby a contracted company will take care of IT issues and equipment. Besides this, it may otherwise be time to consider investment in new equipment or at least conducting software updates more frequently, there are still generous tax incentives in place for capital expenditure so now is as good a time as ever.

2. Administration

There is no doubt that countless hours spent on administration directly impacts upon productivity and all too often SME owners fall victim to this trap.

We know that accounting, forecasting and budgets, managing your finances and keeping a close eye on your cash flow can be difficult, especially when your business begins to expand. Yet, without these things your business cannot continue to operate and be successful. Freeing up time to focus on the things that will foster profitability and drive your business forward should be a priority for all business owners and seeking assistance from professionals and specialists including the outsourcing of areas such as payroll and bookkeeping can often be the perfect solution.

We work with start-ups and small businesses every day, offering them the support and advice they need in order to succeed in running their business. We can take care of your accounting and outsourcing requirements, giving you more time to grow your business and realise your dream.

3. Uncertainty

With Brexit on the horizon and the nation still getting to grips with the result of the snap general election last month, some businesses are facing what could be a prolonged period of uncertainty. In this climate businesses should be focussing on improving their productivity and striving for growth but research suggests that this isn’t happening across the board.

With uncertainty here to stay whilst Brexit negotiations are ongoing, businesses must not give up. Now is the time to seize new opportunities, innovate more than ever, energise your workforce and make sure your finances are in order as you move forward.

It is not just the responsibility of business owners to cultivate confidence in a market that is currently somewhat misgiving, but also that of the local councils and national government. For example, at the March Budget, measures were introduced to help the most vulnerable businesses cope with the changes to business rates, yet at time of writing, despite recent attempts to move them forward, these measures have still not come to fruition and many businesses are still waiting for their bills to be correctly adjusted.

Failure to fulfil promises such as this does little to quash doubt, inspire confidence or offer any real hope for the future. That is why local councils and the government must look at ways in which they can support the entrepreneurial and business communities during this time.

Here at George Hay, with a large proportion of our client base made up of small, local businesses, we understand the issues facing these firms. We are on hand all year round to ensure you’re always up to date on the latest legislation and aware of the tax-saving opportunities available to you. We work across all industry sectors to provide comprehensive audit, accountancy, taxation and business advisory services, tailored to the requirements of your business. If you’d like to find out more about how we can help you visit our website George Hay

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