UK small and medium-sized businesses ‘facing major barriers to international trade’

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While it is not exactly news that the recent business climate has been a testing one for small firms up and down the UK, it would seem that international trade is a particular challenge for such companies – if, indeed, they are able to partake in it at all.

This became apparent in the results of research by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), which sought the views of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK.

It was discovered through this polling that there was a gap between the ambition that UK SMEs had to trade across national borders and the reality of doing so.

What were the key findings of the CBI survey?

As the Business Leader website reported, a mere 44% of the businesses polled were engaged in international trade at the time of the survey. However, this was not a reflection of a lack of interest among the firms questioned, as only 23% of them stated that they were not interested in trading internationally.

Sure enough, a third of the research participants said they believed there was potential value in international trade, but they did not do it themselves as a consequence of perceived barriers and insufficient support.

Respondents cited a range of barriers to trading with other countries, including the impact of Brexit (23%), their business being too small to trade internationally (16%), and limited knowledge about international markets (15%).

On a more positive front, there was evidence that businesses already engaged in international trade saw opportunities for further growth. Just over a quarter (27%) of firms presently trading across borders expected to increase their imports or exports, whereas the equivalent percentage was just 4% among businesses that did not currently trade.

Can we help give your small firm greater financial breathing space in 2023?

Small companies not just in South West England – where TS Partners is based – but also up and down the UK are presently grappling with some of the toughest economic conditions seen for years.

This underlines the importance of working alongside the accounting and tax professionals who are best placed to help ensure your business is managing its money responsibly and meeting its compliance obligations, as well as taking advantage of the opportunities that open up.

A chartered tax adviser in Somerset or Devon from our own team could greatly help put your mind at rest as a businessperson in 2023. Reach out to us via your nearest TS Partners office, and we will be pleased to explore the possibilities for how we could work together.