A time to recalibrate report – a survey of owner-managed businesses

Published by Andrew Griggs on 19 April 2022

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Owner-managed businesses employ three-fifths of the UK workforce, they are the backbone of the UK economy. Having navigated Brexit, the pandemic and looked forward to a period of economic stability, they are now confronted with the challenge of rising inflation and increased energy costs.

This research, conducted by the Association of Practising Accountants (APA) and Kreston Reeves, is an assessment of the challenges owner-managed businesses now face. It captures a representative sample of the aspirations and concerns of these entities as they seek to navigate a post-Brexit and post-pandemic landscape.

Headline findings:

  • 64% of SMEs report that rising energy costs are impeding their ability to deliver their business growth.
  • 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.
  • 62% are focused on surviving or sustaining their business, against 33% who are looking to grow over the next six months.

Despite these challenging economic headwinds, there is also evidence that those businesses that have survived the pandemic are now more resilient and more confident:

  • 81% of owner-managed businesses 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 six 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.

Andrew Griggs, Senior Partner at Kreston Reeves, said: “As businesses continue to understand and adapt to a rapidly changing economic landscape, now is the time to rethink and look towards building a business for the next decade. That will mean addressing immediate challenges and, in the longer term, recalibrating business models. A ‘whole business’ view and an investment mindset is needed to prepare for and shape the future of your business.”

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We work alongside and advise many businesses facing these issues. If you would like some guidance on any of the topics covered in this report, please get in touch. Alternatively, we have a library of helpful content to support businesses with their planning.

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