LONDON, November 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --
As Sage launches new online proposition to support small businesses in expanding overseas
- 64% of SMEs do not currently trade abroad
- Just 6% of SMEs see trading overseas as a big goal for their business in 2014
- SMEs show interest in trading abroad, but don't know where to start
- Not enough being done to communicate benefits of exporting for small firms
- Stats from UKTI reveal that companies which export see a 34% increase in productivity within their first year of exporting
As Boris Johnson starts a campaign to encourage British businesses to take their first steps in trading overseas, independent research from business services and software provider Sage UKI has discovered that exporting still isn't high on the small and medium sized enterprise (SME) agenda.
Small business confidence is at an all-time surge after five years of treading water and there is a keen focus on succeeding on the home front with 38% of decision makers saying there are no barriers to setting up a business in this country. But of the 500 businesses surveyed, just 6% said trading overseas was a big goal for their business in 2014, due to concerns over tightened regulation and red tape - potentially missing out on opportunities for growth as companies which export could see a 34% increase in productivity within their first year of exporting (UKTI).
This comes as Sage launches a new online proposition, Sage One Accounts Extra, to better support small businesses in making their first steps in trading overseas, so that exporting can be as simple and straightforward as trading on home turf.
Following high profile UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) missions to China and India this year, the appetite for trading overseas amongst UK SMEs is growing. Whilst only 6% cite overseas trading as a big goal next year, one in five (17%) of SMEs are now considering exporting at some point in the future. But they risk missing out on opportunities to grow in the next twelve months. Furthermore, 64% of UK firms do not currently trade broad and of those that don't, 75% still have no plans to in the future - suggesting that not enough is being done to communicate the opportunities and benefits in exporting.
A further 5% said that they would like to but just wouldn't know where to start.
"Small businesses need help exporting to get that foothold in overseas markets," says Simon Hodgkins, Head of Sage One UK and Ireland. "Our research shows that there is very little understanding of how to go about making the first step in international trading - small businesses need to have the right support and guidance as navigating the different regulations and approaches to business can be daunting."
The benefits of trading overseas for SMEs are becoming apparent - statistics from UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) show that companies which export see a 34% increase in productivity within their first year of exporting, and are 11% more likely to survive.
Sage One Accounts Extra is the latest addition to Sage's online family of accounting and payroll software supports companies looking to expand overseas with foreign currency capabilities, and is delivered on a highly scalable and secure global platform built for greater accessibility and collaboration.
"One of the reasons we created Sage One Accounts Extra was specifically to support small businesses when making those first steps to trade outside the UK" said Hodgkins.
The main barriers to start or increase trading abroad according to UK decision makers were understanding international trading regulations (15%), access to the right guidance and support (12%), and access to finance (10%) - in addition to simply not knowing where to start (10%).
For a quarter (23%) of decision makers who have existing export contracts, they suggest currency complexities; overseas government interference, red tape logistics and language barriers mean there are few opportunities for expansion.
Key new functions for Sage One Accounts Extra include; enhanced forecasting tools, automated bank reconciliation, multi-currency and sophisticated cash flow management, additional functionality of invoicing, payments integration and support on all UK & Ireland VAT schemes. All with business support 24/7.