13 November 2017


#CBIGlobalGrowth Blog: a business perspective on building exports

Alan Laing, Sage, Managing Director, UK & Ireland gives a business perspective on building exports

#CBIGlobalGrowth Blog: a business perspective on building exports

The UK has a productivity problem. As a nation, the country is 27% less productive compared to the US, and 22% less productive relative to our French and German neighbours closer to home.

But there’s a proven link between productivity and export intensity.

This is problematic given the stark regional disparities that exist in the proportion of companies who export across different regions. The North East is among those areas with the lowest exporting rates, at almost half of those seen in London and the South East. Just 12% of SME employers in the region export goods and services, compared to 18% across the UK as a whole. 

It’s crucial to understand how to get these businesses into exporting in order to boost productivity and raise living standards across the North East.

So, what can be done to get these businesses into exporting?

Businesses of this size in particular face a number of problems in starting to trade, including currency fluctuations, compliance issues, and navigating the different business practices that exist across markets.

Small companies also spend a disproportionate amount of time on administration, currently devoting an average of 156 days per year to it. But companies like Sage can help to bring down the barriers of physical borders and geography through cloud-based administration.

Sage operates in sixty countries across the globe, has 14000 employees worldwide, and is one of a rare breed of global tech leaders born in the UK and Europe. More than 50,000 businesses using Sage technology operate within a fifty mile radius of Newcastle city centre alone.

Using the tools, advice and services they provide, businesses can cut back on the admin burden to free up time to strategize, get into exporting, and grow.

Government too has a role to play. It must further examine what it too can do to help these companies get into exporting, working with them to offer tangible advice and develop new services.