Recent news that UK business investment in Q2 2017 remained at a similar level to Q1 is somewhat unsurprising considering the uncertain landscape – but what does this mean for in-house accountants?
Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that businesses’ capital spending had steadily increased between 2009 and the end of 2015, but has been relatively flat since. The level of business investment in the second quarter of this year was £43.8bn, adjusted for inflation — representing virtually no growth quarter-on-quarter and meaning that it’s the same as the three months before last year’s EU referendum. These figures come after Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England, warned that persistent uncertainty over the UK’s future relationship with the EU was holding back business investment.
With the uncertainty of Brexit on the horizon, it’s becoming increasingly important for senior accounting professionals to look for efficiencies in existing operations and recognise new revenue streams. High profile cases of financial institutions moving parts of their operations overseas exemplify how senior strategists are taking a proactive approach to reigning-in overheads to ensure they are better placed to weather any incoming storm. As such, accounting professionals who have experience in being able to identify potential pain points, and also effectively communicating suggested solutions to wider leadership teams, are becoming increasingly sought after. You want to be the one making recommendations that impact top or bottom line figures, who is coming up with the value adding ideas, who is proving to be an indispensable business partner.
Make no mistake, the UK economy remains strong. This data is not representative of businesses running out of cash – it’s the result of innately cautious accountants deciding to postpone investment while they ride out this period of uncertainty. And those who demonstrate they can do so effectively will have the welcome side effect of gaining valuable experience which will help them further their careers going forwards. Look for work, use your initiative and help your business flourish regardless of economic conditions.
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