Mid-size firms gain confidence.


Over 40 per cent of mid-size firms believe that the recession will end in the next seven to 12 months, according to respondents to CIMA's quarterly survey in December. This indicates cautious optimism that conditions are improving: the figure increased from only a third of companies in the third quarter of 2009.

In quarters two and three of last year the survey found that 42 per cent of UK mid-size firms had seen both their turnover and net profit increase. But in the fourth quarter some reported a decrease of more than ten per cent for company turnover, net profits, domestic sales turnover and overhead costs.

But the Q4 survey, like that of Q3, showed continuing confidence among these firms, which said that the factors they used to assess their performance would not change in the near future. In addition, 23 per cent said that they had seen an increase of one to two per cent in turnover.

As in Q3, more than two-thirds of respondents said they had changed suppliers in the preceding 12 months, mainly because of price (68 per cent) and value for money (five per cent).

Predictions about the next quarter showed that most firms did not expect performance factors to change. Turnover was the only factor that some (23 per cent) expected to increase by one to five per cent.

CIMA members continued to plan their businesses effectively: 63 per cent (an increase of 13 per cent on Q3) of respondents said that their business was fully prepared for the return to a VAT rate of 17.5 per cent on January 1. But two-thirds said that the increase would have no impact on their performance (the same figure as in Q3).

The findings also showed that 62 per cent of midsize companies hadn't sought extra finance from a bank over the preceding 12 months-an increase of six per cent on the previous...

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