SMEs agree Government plans to stimulate growth fall 'wide off the mark', according to IFA

HR Editorial , 22 Sep 2011

red tape

A nationwide survey of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and their accountants indicates that small businesses regard Government efforts to stimulate growth and competitiveness as having mostly fallen wide of the mark.

According to a report published this morning by the Institute of Financial Accountants (IFA), SMEs believe the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) must do more to cut down on red tape.

The survey was conducted by IFA members of which typically own or work for SMEs, or else run or work for small and medium-sized accounting practices (SMPs) with largely SME clients.

One in four of the 8,000 members surveyed are concerned about recruitment and retention. SMEs also expect an uphill struggle dealing with looming skill shortages, as larger organisations start to poach their best people.

Yet training and development activities are incorporated into retention strategies at fewer than half (47%) the firms surveyed. The IFA believes SMEs, which will be most successful at talent management are those where developing good people is firmly back on the agenda.

David Hunt, president of the IFA, said: "The coalition government promised much by way of support for the entrepreneurs and small business owners who represent the backbone of our economy. It's time to make good on those promises by properly addressing the heavy burden of regulation once and for all. Red tape is hampering job creation and diverting the attention of talented businesspeople away from what they're good at. That can't be sensible when economic recovery is so volatile."

"The perception amongst business-owners is that, while banks may be lending again, most loan finance is going the way of much larger organisations. Owner-managers feel short-changed, especially as it's their efforts and resources which are used to provide jobs, generate wealth and contribute the lion's share of tax revenues.

"At HMRC and Companies House, SMEs feel little progress has been made to understand the unique challenges associated with running small businesses. They're more than ready to pay their way and file their returns on time - but poor service standards, complex rules and punitive fines do nothing to help."


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