ALMOST 70% of small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in Scotland expect to see revenues rise this quarter, according to a new report.
According to the latest quarterly Barclays SME Barometer, over three fifths of Scots SMEs expect revenues to rise when compared to the same period last year.
On average, Scots SMEs expect to see a 10.4% rise between the months of April and June 2022 against the same period in 2021, a positive sign of businesses bouncing back as pandemic restrictions have eased.
This follows a successful first quarter of the year for SMEs with more than half reporting a rise from Q4 2021, and 56% reporting a year-on-year rise in revenue for the same period in 2021.
These figures are supported by data from Barclaycard Payments,which shows a rise of 28.6% in the value and 29.1% in the volume of payments to SMEs in Scotland in the same period versus pre-pandemic.
The predicted boost in revenue is welcome news for small businesses who are facing a number of challenges including rising inflation, fuel and energy price increases and difficulty hiring new workers.
Over three quarters of Scots SMEs say that rising living costs, energy bills and inflation are a long-term concern for their business.
While they remain confident about the future of their businesses, half of Scottish SMEs have a pessimistic outlook on the prospects for the wider UK economy, and 48% say that the current business environment is unstable, compared to 41% UK wide.
Colin O’Flaherty, Head of SME at Barclaycard Payments, said: “After an exceptionally tough time, it’s encouraging to see that businesses have seen revenues rise over the last few months, despite a challenging economic climate.
“We hope the long weekend will provide a welcome and much needed confidence boost to many SMEs, as consumers look to get out, support local businesses and make the most of the four-day weekend.
“However, it’s not surprising that in the immediate term, cost of living increases, rising inflation and difficulty hiring new workers are a major cause of concern for small business owners.
“It’s vital that they continue to tap into the support of the wider business community to get through yet another difficult period.”
Additional findings reveal that despite the challenging environment, 91% of SMEs in Scotland say they are planning to invest in their businesses over the next 12 months.
Almost two-fifths plan to recruit new staff, while 34% plan to invest in new equipment and technology and 26% plan to invest in reskilling or upskilling staff.
Earlier this year, Barclays launched a package of support aimed at boosting small businesses.
The bank is hosting masterclasses throughout the year, with a focus on managing cash flow, business growth and support for wellbeing.