‘less than a quarter’ of UK SMEs plan to expand overseas

New research carried out by DocuSign has found that less than a quarter (22%) of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) plan to expand their business beyond the UK.

SMEs stated that the most significant barriers to growth include a lack of available finance, a lack of inexperience and large amounts of red tape.

The survey of 1,000 small business owners also suggested that a ‘perceived deficiency’ in skills is ‘holding them back’. The skills owners most regret not having are accounting and finance skills (22%) and IT and digital skills (19%).

Furthermore, the research revealed that confidence levels amongst SMEs have ‘plummeted’ as a result of trade uncertainty facing the UK.

Ronan Copeland, Vice President of Commercial Sales at DocuSign, said: ‘Growing a business across borders is challenging, particularly in times of macro-economic uncertainty. As such, it is perhaps unsurprising that many small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are focusing their efforts on the UK. Confidence plays a big part, and this is borne out by the results of our latest survey.’

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Charity Trustees Time Off for Duties Bill

Charity Trustees Time Off for Duties Bill

The Charity Trustees (Time Off for Duties) Bill 2017-2019 was introduced to parliament in March.

This bill will allow charity trustees to take reasonable time off from their jobs to carry out the duties required of being a charity trustee.

Under the existing law, trustees are not listed among professions that are entitled to reasonable time off to perform their role. So this bill will allow them the same rights as school governors, local councillors, magistrates, members of health authorities and trade union officers.

Labour MP, Susan Elan Jones said the bill would help show value to existing trustees by giving them an “improved status in law, but might also encourage a more diverse range of people to join charity boards.”

The time off must be agreed between the employer and the employee. This means that the date the time is taken and the duration must be reasonable in order to have as little effect on the business as possible. Any time off would also be unpaid, unless the employer agrees otherwise.

The change in the law will give employees who are also trustees more confidence when approaching their employer with a request to take time off to carry out their duties.

However, it is important to be aware that this new law change will not apply to charity trustees who are police officers, member of the armed forces, agency workers, merchant seamen or those working at sea on a fishing vessel, or on a gas or oil rig.

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