Two thirds of SMEs feel corporates get better deal from the system and Brexit
20 May 2019
Two out of three small to medium enterprise (SME) respondents say they feel corporate firms are better placed to handle technological transition and the effects of Brexit.
Accountancy firm Menzies LLP interviewed 1,000 SME owners and found some 63% feel the economic uncertainty over Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union has enabled bigger firms to ‘gain ground’ over them.
“Small and medium-sized manufacturers have been suffering in the current climate of uncertainty and many believe large corporates and multinationals have been better able to prepare for Brexit and invest in technologies to give them a competitive advantage,” said Menzies partner Caroline Milton.
“Whilst they realise that being smaller and more agile is a bonus, SMEs are concerned that corporates will be more cash-ready to take advantage of any upturn that might come once the Brexit stalemate is resolved one way or the other.”
Almost half of respondents said they would seek to cut costs or raise finance to reinvest in their operations.
Many believe large corporates and multinationals have been better able to prepare for Brexit and invest in technologies to give them a competitive advantage
Caroline Milton, partner, Menzies
Worryingly though, more than one in four (27%) said they would take no action – with the majority admitting they felt powerless to influence their future.
However, the perception may be more real than supposed: nearly half of respondents suggested it had been harder to make a profit in the last year, despite the fact most had reported sales improving or at least remaining static.
Asked to name their main challenges, the interviewees cited:
Predicting future demand
Staying focused on customer service delivery
Staying up to date with laws and regulations
On a more optimistic note, asked to identify their advantages over larger competitors, the SMEs listed lower overheads and fixed costs, faster decision-making/lack of shareholders, better response to market changes and fewer legacy, bureaucratic and compliance issues.