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ACCA: SMEs lack international trade advice amid global market uncertainties

Amid uncertainty over Brexit, just 11% of UK SMEs have sought external international trade advice, according to the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).

A survey from the ACCA revealed this figure despite 31% of SMEs citing uncertain global trade as their biggest barrier to growth over the next few years.

The survey, Scale-up success: What do SMEs need to supercharge their growth?, which contained more 1200 responses from SMEs, highlighted the state of the domestic market and the uncertain global trade environment as the biggest barriers faced worldwide by SMEs.

The survey suggested that a possible solution to long-term growth potential lies with the power of external advice and funding networks.

It also noted external advice enables SMEs to have improved access to business intelligence and technological know-how.

ACCA’s interim director of professional insights Jamie Lyon said: “Growth can come at any stage of an SME’s lifecycle. This requires business leaders to think strategically about the steps they can take to enable it. SMEs with high growth ambitions often tend to have an international outlook from the outset of their business journeys.

“Growth prospects can be supported if SMEs build a governance structure from the outset of their business journey. It is important to establish a management team that encompasses the broader skills and experience required to help expand the organisation.”

Caroline Plumb founder and CEO of Fluidly, a UK based machine learning company which helps SMEs manage their cashflow, said in the report: “Investors definitely provide useful advice. They’re people who’ve done it before and experience always counts. They can not only help you identify the best course of action but they can also say where you are likely to go wrong. I think that’s very valuable.”


By Mishelle Thurai

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