11 April 2022
In the two years since the first lockdown the owner managed business sector has had to cope with an unprecedented amount of uncertainty as it dealt with the pandemic. In a client survey conducted by the Association of Practicing Accountants, of which Shipleys LLP is a member, 335 businesses across across 15 sectors and 11 regions of the UK relayed the challenges they currently face.
The survey’s findings capture a representative sample of the aspirations and concerns of owner managed businesses as they move from crisis to recovery. While the full economic impact of Covid has yet to be quantified two things are clear from the analysis in our latest survey of this sector:
- Significant uncertainty remains
- Those businesses who have survived are generally now more resilient and more optimistic about the future
Owner managed businesses face huge challenges but also opportunities in the coming months. This research provides a snapshot of the current landscape.
- 87% of owner managed businesses fear that inflationary pressures will impede their growth over the next 12 months
- 64% of SMEs report that rising energy costs are impeding their ability to deliver
- 43% report that Brexit had either had a negative or very negative impact on their business, against 4% who reported a positive impact
- 59% report that staff recruitment and retention is now presenting more of a challenge than 12 months ago with only 3% reporting this is now less of a challenge
- 81% of owner managed business report that they are in better shape for the future than before the pandemic
- 82% of respondents were either very or somewhat confident that they would be able to access the finance they needed over the next 6 months
- 79% think that overall the UK Government response to Covid has been either very or quite effective
- 48% report that it is either likely or very likely they will make significant capital investment in their businesses in 2022 / 23.
Download the full research findings
Background to the survey
The Association of Practising Accountants (APA) is a network of leading professional and business service firms providing support to over 14,000 business across the UK. Following on from its research last summer into business recovery in the UK, this latest study examined current trading conditions, inflationary pressures, the impact of Brexit and war in Ukraine, as well as policy measures needed to help support owner managed businesses.
The survey was conducted between 14 February and 14 March 2022. Commenting on the findings APA Chairman Martin Muirhead said:
“Having navigated Brexit and the pandemic owner managed businesses are now confronted with the double challenge of rising inflation and increased energy costs. Many of these businesses have done well to survive the last 2 years. Having looked forward to a period of economic stability post-Covid they are confronted with the opposite.”
“It is imperative that the UK Government take a more realistic view of our future trading relations with Europe recognising that labour shortages coupled with an altogether more challenging export environment pose a real threat to recovery. The Government also needs to take all measures necessary to avoid the UK drifting into a period of sustained rampant inflation drawing on lessons learnt from the 1980s.”
“Uncertainty remains across many sectors of the economy. Businesses want reassurance as well as clear and unambiguous advice and support – adopting a flexible approach to business policy which recognises the many challenges facing owner managers will be key to a sustainable recovery.”
Along with other APA member firms, Shipleys will be taking these findings to Government and policy makers over the coming weeks to ensure that they are prioritising resource where it is most needed to ensure the sustainability of owner managed business across the UK.
A big thank you to all our clients who participated in the survey.
Specific advice should be obtained before taking action, or refraining from taking action, in relation to this summary. If you would like advice or further information, please speak to your usual Shipleys contact.
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