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Latest data shows highest levels of business confidence in last two years

Graham Lamont

[O]ne of Cumbria’s leading firms of accountants, tax and business advisers, Lamont Pridmore, has said that new research from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) shows small businesses are more confident about their future.

In recent years businesses have portrayed a rather gloomy outlook when it came to their future growth and success, but the latest Business Confidence Monitor from the ICAEW shows that more SMEs feel good about their prospects, with general confidence rated at  +7%.

Comparing it to previous results provided by the institute, it was the highest confidence level recorded in the last two years of quarterly surveys.

Surprisingly, those companies exporting overseas were the most confident, despite the concerns about Brexit and other trade tariffs.

Much of this growth in confidence can be traced back to a growth in sales across a number of sectors; however, levels are yet to reach the highs of two years ago.

SMEs also reported improved profit growth thanks to sales growth and restraint on wages.

However, owners did say that they had to contend with high input prices and low selling price growth.

The current conditions and confidence are supporting increases in capital investment, research & development (R&D) and staff development budgets.

Graham Lamont, Chief Executive at Lamont Pridmore, said: “We welcome this increase in confidence, but it is clear that there is still a long way to go for many businesses.

“While exporters seem to be particularly confident, despite the uncertainty of Brexit, it is interesting to see that all SMEs are looking to invest in new developments. This is certainly a big change in trend to previous years, where firms have been far more cautious.

“With profit improvement already proving key to many of the businesses surveyed, it is something that other companies should be considering if they wish to compete effectively in the future.”

Chris Lamont, Partner at Lamont Pridmore, added: “While much uncertainty still exists it is important that business owners take time out to plan ahead for the medium and long-term.

“Creating a set of goals for the future will help them to monitor their performance against their expectations, which will prove vital if they are to make the most of the resources available to them.”

Further information about Lamont Pridmore is available by telephoning 0800 234 6978 or emailing [email protected]

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