The impact of COVID-19 on British businesses

An insight into the way small businesses in the UK are responding to the outbreak of coronavirus.

What do small businesses need to get back on track?

We carried out a survey that asked business owners about their current experiences of COVID-19, the future they see for their business, and the role their accountant plays in that.

While no one can say what the future holds, the UK’s small businesses are working hard to safeguard themselves against the impacts of the coronavirus outbreak, both now and in the long term.

Many are already looking ahead, and working out how their business and others in their sector will look post-lockdown.

To weather the storm, SME owners will need to think about strategies they can use to build their resilience, how their business model might need to change, and whether there are new opportunities they can tap into.

This report includes:

  • The impact of COVID-19 on small businesses
  • The role of accountants
  • How businesses and sectors could change in the future
  • How accountancy firms can help their clients
  • How firms can adapt their own business model

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    About this report

    This report was created by Melissa Tredinnick who alongside her role at PracticeWeb, is the content editor for UK Business Forums (UKBF).

    The business owners who responded to our survey came from a range of backgrounds, but professional services and property were the two most represented.

    Other sectors included retail and hospitality, and manufacturing.

    The majority of respondents had been running their business for seven years or more, and most had between one and three members of staff. 

    To add further context on business owners’ views, we also spoke directly with a smaller group of SME owners, whose responses have been referenced in this report.

    It’s impossible to know what the future holds

    How we come out of the coronavirus crisis, and the lasting effect it might have, is anyone’s guess. 

    But an independent, fighting spirit is what brought many small business owners to build their company in the first place, and that sense of determination is what’s going to see many through this period.

    With businesses either going into hibernation, or taking up Government financial support to carry on trading, or at least to stay afloat until an end is in sight, businesses owners are quickly shifting their focus towards the future.

    How will they navigate their business through the storm?

    What does the business world look like post-lockdown?

    What support do they need to get back on track?

    How can they pivot or evolve to meet the new normal? 

    What role do accountants play?

    What role do accountants play, beyond offering guidance on Government financial support measures?

    Our survey sets out to answer all these questions, gaining an insight into the way small businesses in the UK are responding to the outbreak of coronavirus.

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