Statistical analysis: wake up call

Statistical analysis: wake up call

The UK has lost its position in the world league tables of super growth countries as the highest ranked EU country to Sweden, falling two places in the last year, according to the International Business Owners Survey conducted by Grant Thornton.

On its own the statistic is not too serious. But considered alongside other
recent surveys, which highlight the UK losing its competitiveness across a range
of measures, it should act as a wake up call to action.

We are very used to being in the ‘premiership’ in terms of economic success,
but for how much longer?

The question is, how can we ensure that the UK continues to remain
competitive internationally and does not fall further down the world rankings?
The answer is by comparing ourselves to the best in the world to define where
our own competitive advantage lies.

For the finance directors of UK companies wanting to enter the ‘league’ of
super growth companies, there are a number of measures that can be undertaken to
assist with this growth.

Above all, the FD must be fully engaged across all levels of the business, to
allow him or her to prepare for future changes and ensure they maintain control
of the business through what can be a tumultuous period.

Building international contacts, networking and spending time abroad are
critical aspects of the FD’s role in growing the business, as is the need to
play a leading role in driving the strategic and commercial debate in the
boardroom.

The FD must want to drive the business forward but should also maintain that
important reality check for the business and minimise any potential risks.

Internally the business needs to ensure that innovation is a top priority and
invest in tools that support long-term growth rather than quick-fix solutions.
The focus should fall on developing new products and services, investing in
research and development and growing international markets by constantly seeking
out new opportunities. Both the opportunities and threats from the emerging BRIC
(Brazil, Russia, India and China) economies must be an agenda point for every
board currently, but is it?

Only by putting a range of these measures into practice can UK business and
FDs, in particular, continue the UK’s successful growth trend of the past few
years and maintain the position as a major economic player in the future.

Jim Rogers is head of growth and strategic services at Grant
Thornton

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