The British Chamber of Commerce reports that the UK economy will remain on a weak trajectory in 2018 due to Brexit uncertainty, inflation costs and weak productivity. With many SMEs still reeling from the interest rate increase in November 2017, business experts agree that resilience and willingness to adapt will be key for SMEs to stay afloat this year.
2018 will be a challenging year for UK businesses; there are further smaller interest rate increases planned for the year - helping to bring the inflation rate back down to its 2% target. Although borrowing would become more expensive, interest rates are expected to remain low to increase businesses and consumers to borrow and spend more.
Another curve ball heading our way is the General Data Protection will be formally introduced 25 May 2018. GDPR regulations require all organisations - no matter what their size - to meet fairly stringent regulations as to how they handle personal data. There are pretty hefty fines for those that fail to comply. Most successful businesses will agree that its database is one of its biggest assets, and how GDPR is managed internally will be vital.
This year also sees a focus on Gender Pay Gap Reporting where larger businesses (those with over 250 employees) will be required to publish their gender pay gap data (by 4 April).
And we've not even mentioned Brexit. With the final terms as to how we exit the EU still being fleshed out, challenges and opportunities will no doubt arise, so it is more important than ever for firms to remain flexible as to how these might be approached.
In order for SMEs to be able to adapt to shifts in business, they must exercise diligence: knowing their suppliers' capabilities, understanding the stability of their customers' finances, executing credit checks to make sure cash flow remains healthy. Databases need to be watertight with up to date information. Our Credit Information Pack is a strategic resource that will provide the answers to the above questions. For £49.95 per annum (https://www.identeco.co.uk/packages) the portal can be accessed an unlimited number of times, allowing you to remain flexible, prepared and responsive to an unpredictable 2018.