Accountants help small businesses

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The government is asking accountants to help encourage the growth of small businesses, by spreading the word about the support on offer and how to access specialist help and advice say Harris & Co accountants Northampton who are specialist small business accountants.

In a blog for the ACCA, Matthew Hancock, minister for skills and enterprise, Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) said accountants have a ‘hugely important’ role to play in supporting small business.

Hancock said:

‘As trusted advisers, I’m asking you to help communicate the changes we’ve made, and the support available to small businesses, to encourage firms that start-up in the UK to scale-up in UK.’

Hancock highlighted recent government initiatives to simplify the employment processes and reduce the red tape which small businesses said were obstacles to future growth, such as the £2,000 relief on employers’ NICs and simplified accounting for micro entities.

He continued:

‘But simplifying a regulation reduces a burden only when a business knows the requirements on them have been reduced. That’s where you come in.’

The minister said campaigns such as the recent Small Business Saturday initiative had shown support for the sector, but it was vital not to lose momentum. He cited the Small Business: GREAT Ambition measures, which include improvements in broadband connectivity, cuts in energy costs, access to public sector contracts and action to tackle late payment, as evidence of the government’s commitment.

Hancock said:

‘Small businesses are essential to the overall health of the economy and we want them to start benefitting from these changes now. By working together we can ensure small firms understand the support on offer, and have access to the most up-to-date information, so they can get on with the crucial task: to grow and create prosperity and jobs.’

A report from the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) published earlier this week was critical of government attempts to improve access to finance for SMEs, noting that overall lending to the sector was down and saying that many small businesses lacked the time and the ability to seek out information on the types of funding available.

Margaret Hodge, PAC chair, said:

‘BIS intends to give nearly £3bn of financial support to SMEs between 2011-12 and 2014-15 through its six main schemes. It helped nearly 6,000 firms during the last financial year, but more could have been helped if the department had done more to ensure that SMEs are aware of the potential financing options available to them.’

BIS is appealing for suggestions to help small businesses make the most of government support available, and ideas should be sent via stakeholder@bis.gov.uk.

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