Renewed confidence marks new era of business stewardship and growth-planning
The latest QCA/BDO Small & Mid-Cap Sentiment Index today reveals that companies are increasingly optimistic about economic prospects and adopting a trailblazing attitude to corporate governance as they plan for growth. This confidence comes despite the economy re-entering recession, and signals a new era of business stewardship.
The index - a joint initiative from accountants and business advisors BDO LLP and the Quoted Companies Alliance (QCA), the independent membership organisation for the UK’s small and mid-cap quoted companies – reveals that optimism in the UK economy has risen sharply from 40.9 in January to 47.3 in April this year, with an even larger increase from 36.6 in January to 46.6 in April among advisory firms to the group, although both scores remain negative (less than 50). Confidence in companies’ individual prospects for the next 12 months has also increased, from 62.4 in January to 66.1 in March, suggesting that small and mid-caps feel better prepared to face the challenges ahead.
Scott Knight, Partner, BDO LLP, commented: “Small and mid-cap quoted companies now seem better able to anticipate the economic climate, which is reflected in the optimism scores of our research. Our clients tell us that they are not seeing the trends identified in the ONS growth statistics and are planning to invest in growth.”
Tim Ward, Chief Executive of the Quoted Companies Alliance said, “Our members are beginning to see brighter times ahead, with more confidence about their ability to secure finance. They need the backing of Government, the banks and market operators to help them deliver the growth in jobs and economic value that have been missing for so long.”
In addition, companies are looking to raise capital - 40% of small and mid-cap companies expect to raise finance in the next 12 months and 38% of companies would consider turning to public equity if the need for finance arose in the coming year. This again shows that there is sufficient confidence among small and mid-cap quoted companies to proactively plan for growth.
This positive outlook also permeates other areas of business management - confidence among the group extends to a firm belief in their own current corporate governance standards, with 92% of small and mid-cap companies calling for a corporate governance code for standard listed, AIM and PLUS-quoted companies that is appropriate to the size and complexity of the company and where it was mandatory to explain or comply.
Scott Knight, Partner, BDO LLP, added, “For such a large number of small and mid-cap quoted companies to actively call for a mandatory corporate governance code shows how confident they are in their current business stewardship standards - many are already choosing to follow a voluntary code, such as the Quoted Companies Alliance’s Corporate Governance Guidelines for Smaller Quoted Companies. Despite re-entry into technical recession, the sector is leading the charge towards a new era of business stewardship in which small and mid-caps feel ready to face the challenges ahead.”
In keeping with these buoyant attitudes to the future, hiring intentions have also become more positive. More than half (55%) of small and mid-cap companies expect to recruit in the year ahead, a 7% increase since January.
Tim Ward, Chief Executive of the Quoted Companies Alliance said, “The engines of growth are telling us that small and mid-caps must focus on delivering revenue and profits and keeping shareholders informed, while facing further regulation. However, cash is the fuel to finance this growth – and we need to see more attention in this critical area.”
The QCA/BDO Small & Mid-Cap Sentiment Index identifies a number of trends exemplifying broad confidence, strong corporate governance and a trailblazing attitude to business stewardship standards:
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For more information: contact Jon Date, Veronica Rossini and Charlie Eccleshare at Blue Rubicon on behalf of BDO LLP on 0207 260 2700 or email@example.com.
The QCA/BDO Small and Mid-Cap Sentiment Index was first published in October 2011 and takes place on a quarterly basis: 235 interviews conducted between 17/04/12 and 01/05/12. 132 small and mid-cap UK quoted companies, 103 advisory companies. This survey has been conducted by independent research company YouGovStone, on behalf of BDO and the Quoted Companies Alliance, using an online interview administered to members and associates of the Quoted Companies Alliance. An email was sent by YouGovStone to the Quoted Companies Alliance’s database, inviting them to take part in the survey and providing a link to the survey. A link to the survey was also posted on the Quoted Companies Alliance website. The sample definition is “small and mid-cap UK quoted companies and advisory companies". The responding sample of small and mid-cap quoted companies is weighted by industry to be representative of all small and mid-cap UK quoted companies, as derived from London Stock Exchange data, but the advisory companies are not weighted in any way.
Notes to editors
BDO LLP, a UK limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales under number OC305127, is a member of BDO International Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, and forms part of the international BDO network of independent member firms. A list of members' names is open to inspection at our registered office, 55 Baker Street, London W1U 7EU. BDO LLP is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority to conduct investment business.
The combined fee income of all the BDO Member Firms, including the members of their exclusive alliances, was €4.06 billion in 2011. The global network provides business advisory services in 135 countries, with almost 48,800 people working out of 1,118 offices, worldwide.
BDO is the brand name for the BDO International network and for each of the BDO Member Firms.
BDO Northern Ireland, a partnership formed in and under the laws of Northern Ireland, is licensed to operate within the international BDO network of independent member firms.
The Quoted Companies Alliance is the independent membership organisation that champions the interests of small to mid-size quoted companies. This sector is defined as those 2,000 companies that are quoted in the UK outside of the FTSE 350. We campaign, we inform and we interact to help our members keep their businesses ahead. Through our activities, we ensure that our influence always creates impact for our members. For more information, please visit www.theqca.com.
YouGovStone is a specialist opinion research agency conducting projects with opinion leaders including politicians, business leaders and journalists around the world. YouGovStone is a wholly owned subsidiary of YouGov plc, which is listed on London’s AIM market, and has offices across Europe, the United States and the Middle East.
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