By David Richmond, Partner, Armstrong Watson, Skipton

PESSIMISM about an uncertain economy and worries over the impact of Brexit are, according to latest research from the Association of Practising Accountants (APA), deterring UK business owners from making investment decisions.

Armstrong Watson and fellow members of the APA – an association of 16 leading UK Accountancy firms – surveyed our clients on a series of issues and challenges facing businesses, with responses showing less confidence in the economy than the same time last year.

Of the 475 client responses submitted across a broad range of sectors, key findings were:

* 30% of respondents are less positive than they were twelve months ago.

* Nearly 60% of businesses think the UK will be worse off as a result of Brexit with 25% thinking

* While there was more optimism (43%) than pessimism (21%) about growth over the next 12 months, only 18% were more optimistic than this time last year against 33% who were more pessimistic.

* Over 50% were unlikely to make any capital investment within the next 12 months.

* Recruitment and retention of key people continues to be a challenge that most business are facing.

It’s clear from the research that the biggest challenge for businesses is the concern surrounding Brexit and the economic uncertainty this brings. This could negatively impact upon growth, with over 50% of businesses admitting they were unlikely to make any capital investment within the next 12 months.

Other issues highlighted as affecting businesses included recruitment and retention of good people, although less so than this time last year.

Whilst operating in an uncertain marketplace is daunting for any business, there are a number of steps that can be taken to prepare for a post-Brexit world and we would encourage business owners to seek the guidance of their business advisers to help support them through this transition.

For help and advice to prepare your business for a post-Brexit world, contact David Richmond on 01756 620000 or email