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New research from ACCA has found that the UK government is among the most positive towards SMEs in the world.

The UK has received plenty of praise recently for the welcome it extends to small and medium-sized enterprises (SME). So it’s perhaps no surprise that it’s been voted one of the most business-friendly environments in the world, according to a new report from the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).



In terms of both its business-friendly government and its positive investment environment, the UK was among the top performers in the latest Global SME Performance Review from the two bodies.

Across the major ACCA/IMA markets where the research was conducted, only Singapore and the UAE could beat the UK – the three were found to have the most SME-friendly policies overall.

Despite lingering concerns about the lack of access to finance for SMEs in the UK, the availability of capital was among the criteria on which it saw the strongest improvement, while profitable investment opportunities also rose strikingly. Economic recovery has seen the UK’s rating of it’s government’s SME-friendliness move into positive territory for the first time- although some comments did dwell on the negative impact of austerity measures.


It’s worth pointing out that the UK also saw a bigger increase than any other in terms of economic outlook and business confidence. As the economy picks up, SMEs are feeling more positive – a finding supported by wave after wave of new data in recent months.

But in spite of the marked improvement on many scores, the UK is not yet at the top of the pile in every poll. It may have taken first place on the index for profitable opportunities, but it lags behind the UAE and US on available capital. Meanwhile, the UAE and Singapore both report higher levels of government support. There’s still more to do, but the report suggests the UK is on the right track.

“Globally, ratings of government policy have generally improved with the recovery, reaching positive territory in the UK for the first time,” said Charlotte Chung, ACCA senior policy advisor.

“SMEs have become more confident about the sustainability of fiscal policy in the medium term, which is no doubt encouraging them to create jobs and to invest. The UK, along with Singapore and the UAE, had the most SME-friendly policies among the major ACCA/IMA markets in 2013/14.”

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