More than 60% of SMEs optimistic about business prospects

More than 60 per cent of small and medium sized businesses are optimistic about their business prospects, according to a leading North West accountant.

Phillip Bates, Principal with Cheshire-based Phillip Bates & Co, said that although trading conditions remained “tough”, the majority of his clients were starting to see an increase in sales and opportunities.

The firm, which has its offices in Neston, acts for clients across the North West and the rest of the UK, operating in a range of sectors including manufacturing, leisure and hospitality, professional and financial services and retail.

Phillip Bates said: “Small and medium sized businesses have come through one of the UK’s worst recessions, but there are signs starting to emerge of better prospects ahead.

“While the optimism of bigger businesses is based more on the long term outlook, for smaller businesses the signs are often more immediate as customers start to spend again.

“Many of our clients started to see things turning around 12-18 months ago and this increased sense of optimism has continued for at least 60 per cent of clients.

“There does not appear to be any one sector that is doing well, it is more a case of well managed businesses in a number of different sectors starting to see a growth in sales and opportunities.”

Phillip added: “Despite the increased mood of optimism, businesses still face a number of challenges. Many businesses will have used their resources to survive during the last seven years and now require finance in order to move forward.

“However, this finance is still not readily available from traditional lenders like the banks and, even where it is available, there is a reluctance among businesses to take it.

“It is not so much a business’s profitability that determines its ability to expand, more its liquidity or lack of it.

“This is why having up to date financial reporting is so important in helping a business to capitalise on opportunities while also responding swiftly to any icebergs that may lie ahead.”

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