Every year brings new challenges and opportunities for businesses, but 2018 seems set to be even more challenging than usual. And it’s not just me who thinks so. PwC (Pricewaterhouse Coopers), one of the Big Four auditors, has set out six things for private businesses to look out for in 2018.
Corporate Governance for Private Businesses
The FRC is planning a big shake-up of the Corporate Governance Code. They’re currently holding a consultation, due to finish at the end of February, with the reforms planned for June. This, according to PwC, is intended to “include greater regulation for large unlisted companies — a clear recognition of their importance.”
As the role of private businesses in the UK economy increases, so will the scrutiny they’re under. PwC advise companies start preparing now, suggesting that “Reviewing existing reporting and transparency against the FRC proposals is a good place to start.”
Cloud Technology for Private Businesses
Cloud technology is a vital tool in today’s business environment, but though many private companies are taking advantage of it, others still use older IT models.
PwC consider moving into cloud technology essential for any private business that hasn’t already done so. Among its many benefits, they point out that “the cloud is ideal for smaller private businesses looking to grow, providing scalability without complexity. It also enables more effective remote working and collaboration between teams.”
Cyber Security for Private Businesses
You’d need to have been living on the moon to have missed 2017’s major hacking scandals, which have hit everyone from Deloitte and Uber to the NHS. This isn’t only a problem for large, high-profile organisations, though — small businesses can also fall prey to hackers.
Unfortunately, only 12% of small businesses have cyber security insurance, perhaps trusting it won’t happen to them. PwC urge all small companies to bear in mind that “taking the risk seriously and having a crisis plan in place is critical to minimising possible damage.”
Digital Disruption for Private Businesses
Hacking is only one of many ways that cyber systems can be disrupted. Private businesses need to be prepared for all likely scenarios, since the results of failing to do so can be catastrophic.
Warning companies to be aware of areas such as robotics, blockchain and artificial technology, PwC recommend that “Strategic planning is a great way to combat uncertainty as it creates clarity, giving the business a purpose and goals to focus on.”
Effect of Brexit Negotiations on Private Businesses
The uncertainty caused by the Brexit negotiations is affecting everyone, and that certainly includes private businesses. None of us can affect the outcome, but companies can put effort into monitoring progress, in order to adapt to changes.
PwC recommends companies run impact assessments and make specific plans. This will help them “protect their existing interests and make the most of new opportunities.”
Cashflow for Private Businesses
These are both exciting and challenging times for business, but the aim is still to make money. Cash is always king, and maintaining a healthy cashflow is the heart and soul of any company’s survival.
“It’s good to branch out,” say PwC, “but it’s also important to focus on maintaining existing strengths and ultimately staying in business.”
If outstanding debts are making it difficult to maintain your cashflow, feel free to get in touch with me for a discussion.