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Majority of SMEs confident to be trading after Christmas despite coronavirus disruption

  • 71% of SMEs are confident that they will still be trading after Christmas 2020
  • 68% of SMEs had to rethink their business model because of the pandemic
  • 26% of SMEs expect to hire new employees in the next three months

6 October 2020, London – Over 7 in 10 of UK small and medium UK businesses (SMEs) remain positive about trading after Christmas despite the significant challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic according to a new survey by The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), the world’s largest body of management accountants. Despite the crisis, one in four businesses (26%) plan to hire new employees and 40% expect to retain their workforce in this period.  

However, revenue for SMEs has been down 6.6% on average over the last six months, with smaller businesses (organisations with 10-19 employees) being the worst hit with revenue down 13.1% on average. In addition, a third of SMEs (33%) expect to make some employees redundant in the next three months. 

The research further highlighted that SMEs have been quick to adapt to the disrupted environment with two thirds (68%) of SMEs saying that they had to rethink their business model. Changes in their business model include reducing their product or service range (32%), changing their supply chains (30%), and transforming their sales and marketing strategy to directly target customers (28%). 

When asked about the UK Government’s Winter Economy Plan nearly half of SMEs (48%) believed that it will continue to drive economic recovery through to spring 2021. 

Andrew Harding, FCMA, CGMA, Chief Executive – Management Accounting, commented: 

“With 71% of SMEs confident that they will be trading after Christmas and 26% looking to hire new employees, their resilience is shining through the pandemic and underpinning the country’s economic recovery. 

“Some SMEs have done a great job adapting their business models, but some sectors of the economy continue to struggle. There remains a need for the government to reduce uncertainty by pausing business regulation, setting out tax plans for the next two years and outlining its long-term economic strategy.”

Click here to read the full survey report.

About the research
The survey was carried out by Opinium on behalf of CIMA. Fieldwork took place online between 25 September ad 1 October 2020 to a sample of 500 full-time decision-makers working for SMEs (organisations with 10-249 employees).