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Double Dip Recession. Is it all bad news?

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Thursday May 10, 2012 at 9:00am
The media loves a bad news story. You could practically hear the cries of delight as they reported the news. It was all doom and gloom, concentrating on the Government’s failure to lift us out of the economic slump. Typical media stuff.

And while we can’t pretend the outlook’s completely positive, perhaps it’s not as bad as some in the media make out. Two new surveys show confidence from UK businesses. Optimism among smaller manufacturers rose for the first time since the mid-2011, according to the CBI. And the UK Business Confidence Monitor found confidence improved in the last three months, suggesting the UK will return to growth in the April-June quarter.  
We’ve already seen growth in certain sectors, for example, look at the growth in online sales. Last year consumers spent more than £50m over the internet. That’s an increase of 14%. The trend looks set to continue into this year and beyond. Savvy shoppers are turning to online shopping because it’s convenient, simple and secure.

Traditional high street stores may be suffering from the boom in online sales. But many smaller companies are taking advantage of selling online now. And social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are helping businesses reach wider audiences than ever before. Selling online benefits retailers of all sizes. The overheads are lower, there are no expensive high street rents to pay and wage bills can be reduced. The need for careful management still applies though. Online businesses need an effective business plan, robust systems and good accounting practices.

The feel good factor

Olympic fever is set to sweep the country in a few weeks time, giving us all the ‘feel good factor’. The London Retail Consortium has estimated the UK will benefit from a £512m boost in retail sales, with the capital set to gain the most, of course.

On a local level, Coventry recently hosted an Olympic football test event, and will stage a further 12 matches during the Olympics. This is a real coup for the area, not to mention a profitable one. Sales of food, drink and souvenirs accounted for £200m worth of revenue during Euro 2004. Eight years on, Coventry retailers are expecting a similar boost in sales.

However, any business considering channelling its energies into Internet sales or looking to cash in on the Olympics, still needs to make sure it has sound business practices in place. Decent management systems and an accounts package that delivers useful management information. Xero’s online accounting software for example, is ideal for web-based traders who are used to working with online systems and embrace their flexibility.

So, enough of the bad news, let’s celebrate the good news, and spread the positivity. And if you need any help and advice setting up your business systems, give us a call.

Andy Parker
Chartered Accountant Birmingham


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