Did you know quite how important small businesses are to the UK economy? Take a look at the figures. 99% of all UK businesses are SMEs, employing 16.3 million workers. As Small Business Minister Kelly Tolhurst MP says, they really are the backbone of the UK economy. And they’re facing new challenges in this period of change, which the government wants to help them navigate.
Connecting government to small businesses
Kelly Tolhurst, where she engaged with over 100 small business owners. We created this forum for her to share her vision for the future of small businesses.
It also gave business owners the chance to discuss upcoming changes in the SME sector, and what support the government could give. These are just some of the initiatives which were mentioned:
There’s help with MTD
The government knows the switch to digital is a challenge for small businesses. That’s why they worked with trusted industry leaders like us at QuickBooks to help make the process as smooth as possible. QuickBooks online accounting software is MTD compatible, which makes it easier for you to keep on top of your tax requirements.
Kelly was clear the government is listening to small businesses. She told us “We know this is a big change, which is why we’ve phased the implementation of MTD in order to give businesses more time to prepare. And with the right support, the right training and the backing of companies like QuickBooks, I’m confident that these changes will lead to huge benefits for each business.”
The late payment culture has to end
Late payment is still the number one driver of small business failure. That’s despite a drop in late payments of 50% over the past 5 years. So it’s extremely important for the future of small businesses that we try to solve that challenge.
“Many organisations are still following bad practice, and I’m very much committed to helping resolve this,” Kelly told us. Measures have been put in place to tackle this problem, including:
Legal requirements for companies to report on their payment practice
Strengthening the prompt payment code.
Financial support is available
Business support is helping thousands of small businesses grow. There are start-up loans and many other finance options available for getting your business off the ground, or for scaling up. After all, cashflow is the lifeblood of your business. Growth hubs up and down the country are there with advice, as well as a business support hotline.
Productivity is key
That’s not to say small businesses aren’t productive. It’s just that a government productivity review found that all businesses are less productive than they could be.
So the government are launching a £56 million budget initiative to help small businesses become more productive, through:
Support with improving leadership skills
Local networks, where SMEs can seek advice from their peers
Knowledge transfer partnerships, for mentoring and sharing best practice
Championing small businesses
This event was a great way for QuickBooks to help amplify the voice of the SME sector across the UK and give them the platform to be heard by decision makers. It’s part of our commitment to back small businesses by championing the things that matter to them. It’s all about creating the right environment for small businesses to continue to thrive.
Feel you’re better informed about government support for small businesses? The QuickBooks Blog covers a wide range of business-related topics – it’s all part of our mission to help small businesses grow.