Business confidence boost for Thames Valley firms

by Jim Dunton Fri 24 January 2014, 11:31 am

Eight out of 10 firms in the region have a rising confidence in the nation's economy, and a similar number expect a rise in profitability for 2014, according to a survey of more than 100 businesses.

The latest Thames Valley Business Barometer found 84 per cent of respondents reporting that their business pipeline had increased over the course of the last quarter, while half have increased their headcount.

Report publishers accountancy and business advisory firm BDO LLP and PR and marketing agency C8 Consulting said one-third of respondents believed it had become easier to access finance in the last three months - more than double the number who felt the same way at the start of 2013.

BDO head Simon Brooker said that following a period of slowly improving fortunes, the indicators now appeared to show that the key economic battleground had shifted from “one of austerity” to one of “helping businesses achieve sustained growth”.

"While we look ahead with optimism for the Thames Valley region in 2014, business leaders must start thinking about what they need to do to prepare themselves for a growth market rather than a recessionary one,” he said.

“Embedding innovation in the business and anticipating future trends will help drive our economic recovery and ensure local businesses are in the strongest position as domestic and international markets continue to shift."

In other findings, the barometer reported 94 per cent of respondents stating that innovation was important to their business, with 88 per cent indicating that investing in innovation had helped them to achieve their business objectives.

According to the report, the main reasons given by businesses for why they innovate include helping them to outperform their competitors, future-proofing growth and opening up new markets.

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