Over 90 per cent of South West SMEs have no plan to deal with business disruption

A staggering 93% of small business owners in the south west have no plan to help them cope with disruption, according to a new study by top 15 UK chartered accountants Haines Watts.

Concerns around disruption are almost universal (98% express fears) yet just seven per cent of leaders have a plan to deal with issues which could arise over changes in government policy, legislation or factors such as cybercrime.

Over half of business owners are not being proactive – admitting they haven’t thought about disruption or have thought about it but not done anything (54%). Many say they are waiting to see what disruption brings and then hoping to respond after the event.

National accountancy firm Haines Watts’ For Love Or Money study is based on interviews with 542 UK business owners, whose businesses are at least two years old, with a turnover of between £1 and £50 million. They have between ten and 249 employees. The research was conducted in 2017.

The top three findings were:

  • Disruption is a universal fear for South West business owners – 98% express concern
  • 7% have a plan in place to address disruption
  • Uncertainty over government policy and regulation tops the worry list with almost half (49%) of business owners concerned.

SMEs most common concern was government-related disruption, including legislation and regulatory changes. More traditional forms of disruption include competition from larger businesses entering the market (45%) and changing customer expectations (31%). One in five (22%) business owners say disruption makes them more determined and 22% say it makes them more ambitious.

Mike Lloyd, managing partner at Haines Watts Swindon said: “Brexit has distracted UK business owners from the very real threat of industry disruption. While fears around regulatory disruption are exceptionally high, business owners may not be concerned enough about the kind of disruption that will threaten their specific business model.”

“It’s hard to envisage exactly how threats like new technology could unfold but that doesn’t mean preparation can’t get under way. There are steps every business can and should take to prepare the ground for changes.”

Haines Watts Swindon is a firm of chartered accountants and business advisors based in Old Town, Swindon. They offer a variety of accountancy and tax planning services to owner-managed businesses, charities and not-for-profit organisations across the south west. The firm is part of the national Haines Watts network of offices. For further details visit www.haineswatts-swindon.co.uk

Pictured above: Mike Lloyd, managing partner, Haines Watts Swindon

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