Napoleon is often quoted as deriding Britain as a nation of shopkeepers as a pejorative term, but the phrase first appeared in a more complimentary manner in a tome called The Wealth of Nations, published in 1776, by Adam Smith, an 18th-century economist.
He wrote: “To found a great empire for the sole purpose of raising up a people of customers may, at first sight, appear a project fit only for a nation of shopkeepers. It is, however, a project altogether unfit for a nation of shopkeepers; but extremely fit for a nation whose government is influenced by shopkeepers.”
Fast forward to the 21st century and for ‘shopkeepers’, read instead ‘a nation driven forward by small and mid-size enterprises (SMEs).’
More than 99 per cent of firms in the UK are SMEs. According to the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) the composition of the 2021 business population stood at 99.9 per cent, or 5.6 million businesses. Statistics show:
- 4 million of these had employees and 4.2 million had no employees, therefore, 75 per cent of businesses did not employ anyone aside from the owner(s)
- There were 5.548 million small businesses (with 0 to 49 employees), 99.2 per cent of the total business population
- There were 35,600 medium-sized businesses (with 50 to 249 employees), 0.6 per cent of the total business population
- A further 7,700 businesses were large businesses (with 250 or more employees), 0.1 per cent of the total business population.
So the role of the accountant is clearly hugely important for the wealth of the nation, particularly with so many sole trader businesses who rely on them to stay profitable and within the tax laws of the country while they are busy running their enterprise.
That in itself can be a challenge for accountants, particularly with the UK labour shortage and the advance of cloud-based technology, where devoting resources to obtaining the correct accounting software, implementing it and training staff is time-consuming and costly. It can also leave them short in other areas of compliance work.
Outsourcing is an ever more attractive option to cover these areas and GI Outsourcing provides experts in both cloud-based software and compliance, where we can provide the perfect tailored fit for areas that need covering.
Our success speaks for itself and with the opening of our fourth office we are better equipped than ever to meet your requirements.
With over 22 years of experience, we’re trusted by leading accountancy firms to deliver the highest quality of work, on time, every time.
Contact our UK-based team of account managers today to find out how we can help your firm.