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Should contractor accountants suggest that struggling clients look overseas?

Should contractor accountants suggest that struggling clients look overseas?

SMEs could find that trading overseas is the best way to survive the economic downturn, according to Mark Prisk, the enterprise minister.

In order to create a truly global business, firms who already trade abroad should offer help and advice to limited company contractors looking to do similarly. International advisers on trade should then work together and ministers should engage with their counterparts abroad to build economic relationships.

The Nat West / RBS banking group says that the UK could see a boom in exports but that will only happen if businesses get the requisite help. 69% of firms believe the time is right to increase their overseas trading but they cannot get the help they need to do so. Two-thirds of companies want to see more help from the banks and 58% say they would have more confidence to export if they received advice from overseas trade experts.

Nat West / RBS is now offering free training courses to advise firms on the best way to manage risk when venturing into overseas trading markets.

A separate survey from telecoms company O2 found that 40% of companies plan to trade overseas next year and over a third of them say overseas economies are becoming more welcoming towards small businesses. Out of the top 10 export markets of choice, six are outside Europe, with the most popular being the U.S.

Another problem facing small businesses is the excessive bureaucracy that comes with exporting goods and services. According to a recent report from the FSB, 25% of UK businesses already export but nearly a third of them say that excessive red tape is stifling their efforts, whilst 48% say they find fluctuations in currency to be a major obstacle.

The chairman of the FSB, Mike Cherry, said that the manufacturing and defence sectors offer big export opportunities for small businesses but in order to be successful they need to know how to access available support. The Federation has called on the government to be more pro-active when it comes to promoting assistance and also to launch a campaign that highlights the advantages of the Services Directive.

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Image: Destination for the day… by antwerpenR

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