UK SMEs face complicated recovery

Research for Accountancy Age highlights disparity between SMEs across the UK as they begin to emerge from lockdown.

Over one-third of small-to-medium sized businesses (SMEs) have been “completely disrupted” by the pandemic, according to new research by FreeAgent.

Overall, 87 percent of surveyed SMEs said their business had suffered due to coronavirus, with further research suggesting that SMEs are all at different stages of recovery as the UK begins to emerge from lockdown.

68 percent of SMEs are deferring their tax payments, although the majority do expect to pay these tax liabilities back within six months.

YouGov research also found that nearly one-fourth of small businesses haven’t seen a change in their expenses, and the majority (57 percent) have seen the number of expenses submitted decrease. However, the cost of office equipment, software and household costs have all risen during lockdown.

The overall change in working practices was ‘easy’ for 68 percent of YouGov-surveyed companies, although small businesses did lag behind the enterprise market ‘substantially.’