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British SME balance sheet blight revealed

11th Nov 2019
Brought to you by
ReceiptBank
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Many still driving paperwork to their accountant; one in three don’t use one 

Two new studies reveal the extent of Britain’s SME balance sheet blight, with small British businesses missing tax deadlines thanks to lost paperwork and one in three not using an accountant. 

British small business accountant use is higher than the global average (41.1%) but one in three (33.87%) "share their physical financial documents by post or dropping them off to their accountant" - higher than the global average of 28.7%.

The research of 917 SMEs was conducted for Receipt Bank - the world’s leading digital bookkeeping platform - by Censuswide across eight countries (Australia, France, Germany, South Africa, Spain, The Netherlands, the UK and the USA).

A quarter of UK SMBs (27.78%) are still using "a physical book" to record their business finances, higher slightly than the global average of 27.13% (Censuswide). 

At the same time a Populus poll of 527 small British businesses commissioned by Receipt Bank reveals a quarter (27%) have missed a tax deadline with one in three (34%) putting off their financial admin to the last minute. Shockingly, nearly one in five (18%) admit to not processing all of their tax-deductible paperwork with the taxman, while one in six (16%) remain wholly reliant on paper returns, resisting a move to cloud-based accounting technology (Populus research for Receipt Bank).

The report also found that a third of all UK SMEs (34%) believe dealing with financial admin prevents them from focusing on growing their business. With half (50%) confirming that they do not enjoy processing receipts, and over a third (38%) saying that processing financial paperwork and invoices creates stress for them. Over a fifth (21%) said financial management and reporting deadlines have kept them up at night. 

It’s financial paperwork which causes the most stress for SMEs, with 38% indicating this to be the case. This figure was highest amongst medium sized businesses, where over half (52%) of respondents made the claim.

The studies are published to coincide with International Accounting Day (or International Accountants Day) - celebrated yearly on November 10, the date in 1494 when Venetian mathematician Luca Bartolomeo de Pacioli published an in-depth examination of bookkeeping practice.

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