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Yorkshire Bank reveals five key challenges SMEs face in the year ahead

Yorkshire Bank reveals five key challenges SMEs face in the year ahead

Yorkshire Bank, part of CYBG, has commissioned new research in partnership with Telegraph Spark, the commercial content arm of The Telegraph, to investigate the key challenges facing SMEs today in areas including finance, tech, HR, Brexit and other political issues.

The research launched during a breakfast event for SMEs at Yorkshire Bank’s innovative new store – B Works – on Wednesday 20th February. Hosted by Nicholas Owen, ex BBC correspondent, the panel discussed the key challenges that smaller businesses will face in 2019 – a year that will see an increasing millennial workforce, the prospect of international trade disruptions, disruptive technologies and ongoing political uncertainty.

Key research highlights:

  • Brexit
    • 39% of British SMEs say leaving the EU will make them worse off – but the same percentage say they will be unaffected, which is encouraging
    • The manufacturing sector shows the highest level of concern about Brexit, with 47% believing they will be worse off after leaving the EU
  • Technology
    • 58% of firms believe their level of investment in technology will stay the same this year, 23% expect to increase and just 8% expect investment to reduce
    • 70% of decision-makers had a clear grasp of their firm’s tech capabilities
  • Finance
    • 43% SMEs say they switch lenders for better interest rates and fee tariffs
    • 73% say they have sufficient or fairly sufficient access to finance
  • Infrastructure
    • Overall, 25% of businesses surveyed think that the availability of affordable housing is good in their region
    • London-based businesses cited the highest levels of dissatisfaction, with 65% saying availability of affordable housing was poor
    • In contrast, more than half of North East businesses surveyed said availability of affordable housing was good
  • HR
    • 41% of SMEs in Yorkshire & Humber struggled to find new recruits
    • SMEs in Scotland, the East and the Midlands said they were more likely to have difficulties recruiting skilled staff

Graeme Sands, Business Banking, Corporate &Mid Market Director at Yorkshire Bank said, “The report launched today reveals generally positive news. Despite an uncertain backdrop, particularly as SMEs face challenges around technology, sourcing talent and an ever-changing political landscape, smaller businesses seem fairly stable. Future success will depend on their ability to deliver services consistently and efficiently, tapping into a range of funding sources, developing skills where necessary and embracing innovation and change.”

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