According to Price Bailey’s Inside the Minds of Business Leaders research, a far lower percentage of UK businesses believe the government should be prioritising blocking Brexit.

“However, the preferred Brexit outcome for owner-managers is remaining in the single market and customs union,” Price Bailey reported.

Conducted amongst 400 owner-managers, this research was made up of interviews with business leaders across the UK on the likes of business confidence, growth, investment, and, of course, Brexit.

The firm added: “The businesses surveyed all reported sales above £1m and 42% of the businesses surveyed had sales over £10m.”

“While business owners favour a soft Brexit, they are much less keen on a second referendum as the means to achieving that goal.”

Just 3% of owner-managers who took part in the accountancy firm’s research said that they believed the government should make blocking Brexit their top priority, and only 4% revealed that a second referendum is their number one business concern.

“Brexit is much less of a priority for business owners than the focus on this issue would suggest,” said Martin Clapson, managing partner at Price Bailey. “Consulting more often with business leaders, reducing the burden of tax and red tape, are all issues at the forefront of their minds, which tends to have been overlooked in all the attention on Brexit.”

According to their research, 67% of owner-managers see Brexit uncertainty as a barrier to business growth, which is clearly a substantial amount. However, 76% of those asked believe that the disruption of the introduction of new technologies is a larger concern.

“Business owners have delayed making investment decisions because of the uncertainty over Brexit, which, in some respects, could be more damaging than Brexit itself. Politicians should take note that hardly any business owners consider stopping Brexit or holding a second referendum to be among their key priorities.”

Clapson continued: “While business owners favour a soft Brexit, they are much less keen on a second referendum as the means to achieving that goal. A second referendum would likely mean a prolonged period of uncertainty, and not necessarily deliver a clearer way through.”

Price Bailey reported: “Less than half (48%) said finding and retaining staff is a barrier to growth, suggesting that certainty over the UK’s future relationship with the EU is more important than remaining in the single market and retaining freedom of movement.”

“There is a disconnect between what politicians view as the most important economic question of the day and the concerns of owner-managers who want the government to reduce the costs of doing business.”

The main issue caused by Brexit uncertainty for UK businesses is the fact that it is preventing these organisations committing to long-term investment plans.

Clapson explained: “Business owners have delayed making investment decisions because of the uncertainty over Brexit, which, in some respects, could be more damaging than Brexit itself. Politicians should take note that hardly any business owners consider stopping Brexit or holding a second referendum to be among their key priorities.”

He said: “There is a disconnect between what politicians view as the most important economic question of the day and the concerns of owner-managers who want the government to reduce the costs of doing business.

“Most owner-managers are confident about their growth prospects after the UK leaves the EU. The consensus is, whatever the outcome of negotiations, any negative impact from leaving the EU will be minimally disruptive and relatively short-lived.”

“It is likely that many business owners view Brexit as an opportunity for the government to make headway on those issues,” he continued.

“Owner-managed businesses are less likely to trade cross-border and operate ‘just in time’ manufacturing processes than large multinational enterprises, which means that they are more likely to be feeling the effect of business rates than be concerned about tariff barriers as a cost to international trade.”

More positively, 77% of owner-managers who spoke with Price Bailey revealed that their financial position of their business will actually improve over the next 12 months.

Clapson concluded: “Most owner-managers are confident about their growth prospects after the UK leaves the EU. The consensus is, whatever the outcome of negotiations, any negative impact from leaving the EU will be minimally disruptive and relatively short-lived.”

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