Sage said that 59% of those surveyed said e-business will open up new markets and opportunities. A similar percentage are keen to be recognised by their customers and suppliers as e-businesses.
However, despite increasing awareness and understanding of the benefits of e-business, only 28% of UK SMEs actually have a web presence, compared to 31% in France and 37% in both Germany and the US.
Also, only 5% of UK SMEs have fully functioning websites, enabling them to trade online.
The findings are part of a comprehensive international research project on SME attitudes to e-commerce, commissioned by Sage.
Other findings include:
SMEs are using the Internet as a marketing or promotional tool rather than for online trading ? only 5% of the UK business community has a website which can handle credit card transactions.
Concerns over Internet security are becoming less of a barrier to SMEs considering an online presence, except in France, where 53% of small businesses still consider it an issue.
Traditional delivery of accounting software via a desktop is still preferable to versions delivered over the Internet with only 37% of UK SMEs considering using online versions (France 23%, Germany 23%, US 29%)
Germany demonstrates its renowned reputation for efficiency with only 13% of German SMEs citing lack of time as a reason for not getting into e-commerce
74% of UK businesses believe that children understand the Internet better than
Paul Stobart, Sage?s chief operating officer commented: ‘This research suggests that SMEs have recognised the business benefits offered by e-commerce and know that they should establish an online presence to remain competitive.
‘However, universal practical issues remain which are preventing many of them from taking full advantage of these benefits. Providers of e-commerce products and services aimed at the SME market need to inspire trust in their customers by making it as quick and easy as possible for them to get up and running on the Web as well as offering ongoing support.’
This first wave of findings is from a tri-annual piece of research conducted by NOP on behalf of Sage. The survey questioned 200 SMEs in the UK, US, France and Germany (800 in total).
New growth opportunities in Aberdeen, North East Scotland, are being invested in by Grant Thornton
If businesses do not take cyber security seriously in their business planning regulators may do it for them, the ICAEW has warned
The Financial Reporting Council has issued guidance regarding the annual reporting of 1,200 large and smaller listed companies. The letter highlighted the key issues and improvements that can be made in the 2016 reporting season
Deloitte's north-west Europe foray; BDO, Smith & Williamson investment paths; Shelley Stock Hutter; and Wilkins Kennedy discussed by editor Kevin Reed on our Friday Afternoon Live broadcast