Confidence in small business is increasing

By Louise Mulgrew | 22nd June 2015 | 3 min read

Between February and April 2015 unemployment fell by 43,000 seeing the number of people in work surpassing 31 million. This is direct evidence that there has been a strong level of job creation amongst Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

John Allan, National Chairman for the Federation of Small Businesses said:

“Today’s labour market statistics provide cause for optimism for the UK economy through 2015. Unemployment is continuing to fall and the number of people in work has surpassed 31 million - evidence of the strong job creation intentions we've seen amongst our members for some time."

“It is also encouraging to see the recovery in real wages finally taking hold. Pay has increased by 2.7% compared to last year, far surpassing inflation. This confirms our own survey data, which also points to businesses expecting to raise wages through the year. In addition, our data suggests those raises have been justified by increasing productivity levels among our members.”

As you can see, there has also been a recovery in real wages that have increased faster than rates of inflation meaning that living costs and standards are becoming better for those working for SMEs. Is this a view that you share within your small business or do you feel that this is only a snapshot of small businesses?

Do you still agree with our previous post that there is a lack of optimism among SMEs?

The official comment from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) also explains the top ten issues that small businesses want Government to focus on in the next five years. They are as follows:

  1. Reduce regulatory burden (53%)
  2. Introduce a more simplified tax system (51%)
  3. Reform business rates (44%)
  4. Improve the employability skills of young people (41%)
  5. Deliver improved broadband / mobile connectivity (39%)
  6. Help UK small businesses to create more jobs (34%)
  7. Tackle late payments (33%)
  8. Lower energy costs for businesses (30%)
  9. Ensure better access to finance (28%)
  10. Increase investment in infrastructure (26%)

As you can see, the main issues that businesses would like addressing are based around policies and taxes. However there is still a prominence on improving connectivity and broadband skills and also improving the employability skills of young people.

This could indicate that small businesses are looking to develop those that are unemployed and gain help from the government to do this; a very optimistic take on an already reducing unemployment rate.

Furthermore, tackling connectivity issues will more than likely help businesses to get connected and online; reaching potential customers and clients on a scale never before possible to them.

Innovation and streamlining is also one area that appears to be important to small businesses. Introducing a more simplified tax system, ensuring better access to finance and helping UK businesses to create more jobs are three areas that will help businesses to improve their processes and increase productivity and profitability.

One way that IRIS are helping small businesses to increase their profitability is by helping them streamline their auto enrolment process. With the legislation now affecting businesses with less than 30 employees, and the legislation to affect 1.2 million SMEs between now and the end of 2017 in total; streamlining your auto enrolment process could prove to be an excellent way to increase profitability.

The IRIS AE Suite™ automatically assesses employees, distributes payslips and P60s electronically and publishes pension letters to employees all as part of the payroll run. Automating the process as part of the payroll saves time for you to concentrate on other areas of your business such as training new interns, setting up your website or managing your social media.

Find out more about the IRIS AE Suite™