The Autumn Budget will be announced on 22nd November, and Close Brothers Business Barometer, (a quarterly survey of over 900 UK-based SMEs,) has revealed the main ambitions of UK CFOs and financial directors for the second Budget of the year.
The hope of many is to see an announcement of reduced business property rates with over half stating this to be the most important potential outcome from this government statement. This saving would potentially free up vital liquidity fuelling both SME and overall economic growth. The urgency is clearly even more salient for many, for instance 56.7 per cent of respondents from the print and packaging sector stated the need to be the most pressing.
Interestingly, the second greatest ambition for those polled is a tackling of the current industry skills shortage, with 38.5 per cent of CFO/financial directors hoping for a formal announcement of plans to do so. Smaller firms (with an annual turnover of £501k to £1 million) felt this matter to be particularly important with over a third (35.6 per cent) feeling this to be the most pressing need.
These results go hand in hand; reducing business rates, and therefore increasing useable capital, could provide the much-needed funds to introduce new skills to company employees. This previously earmarked cash could also allow firms to offer apprenticeships, train current staff, or seek out strategic new hires to achieve sustainable enterprise progression.
Whether a reduction of business rates is addressed by the Autumn Budget or not, there are other options available to unlock cash within a company to keep trade moving forward and achieve key aspirations, such as upskilling staff.
Unlocking cash with invoice financing is a simple and manageable way to increase working capital without relying on the outcomes of the Autumn Budget or funding from traditional bank loans or overdrafts. Invoice finance offers the ability to release up to 90 per cent of the value of your unpaid invoices, so you can access cash without waiting to be paid by your customers. Invoice finance can regulate your cash flow and offers predictable funds to reinvest in the business.