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Stagnant UK growth drives increase in SME exports

Stagnant UK growth drives increase in SME exports

• A third of accountants report increased exports among SME client base in last 3 years

• Weak pound, stagnant growth and weak demand at home driving desire to export

The UK’s SMEs are increasingly looking to exports to fuel growth, new research by Invoice and Asset Based Lender Venture Finance and Accountancy magazine, the official journal of ICAEW, today reveals. 

The research shows that, where applicable, a third (33%) of accountants have witnessed an increase in exporting among their client base in the last 3 years.

Those accountants that saw an increase estimate that exports have risen by 10% among their client base, from 20% pre-credit crisis to 30% today.

Venture Finance and Accountancy magazine performed the research among 311 accountants in August and September of this year in their annual Credit Check report.

Push and pull

Accountants believe that the current UK business environment is fuelling the desire to export.

Over half (54%) say that clients are increasingly looking overseas for sales opportunities due to stagnant growth at home while 41% suggest it is due to weak demand.

At the same time, nearly two thirds (64%) feel that the weak pound has driven the rise in overseas business among their client base.

However, almost half (49%) feel that SMEs are drawn to exporting as strong growth in emerging markets has created new possibilities for British businesses looking to grow their revenues. 

Peter Ewen, Managing Director at Venture Finance, comments: “As SME confidence increases, a sluggish home economy has encouraged companies of all sizes to explore new revenue streams and opportunities for growth further afield.”

Overseas markets

As exports increase, accountants are seeing a notable rise in SMEs targeting certain key geographies.

A quarter (26%) of accountants have seen the greatest rise in overseas invoicing in the Far East while others have also seen a significant increase closer to home in central and eastern Europe (24%) and other European countries (27%).

Peter Ewen, comments: “Selling overseas can be daunting and presents many challenges but with the outlook at home looking choppy at best, more and more businesses will need to take the reigns and seek out new avenues for growth both in the UK, and, increasingly, abroad.”

“Businesses moving into any new market, let alone a foreign country, must do their research if they are to make the most of the opportunity. Providers such as credit insurers and financiers can help ease this burden and ensure success.”

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