The majority of UK workers and employers are greeting 2023 with optimism as concerns around major global and financial issues appear to be easing slightly, new research has claimed.
A report from accounting software giant NetSuite found nearly three-quarters (71%) of business founders are more optimistic about their prospects in 2023 than the previous year.
Nearly half (47%) are expecting their business to grow in 2023 as tough economic conditions start to ease - although many realise things won't change overnight.
The study of more than 2,100 UK business founders and workers found that the top challenges facing founders are rising costs/inflation (62%), increasing energy costs (50%), and the knock-on effects of a recession (48%). Although some of these figures may seem high, NetSuite notes that concerns around inflation have actually dropped by 26% compared to 2022, with worries about a recession falling 35%.
"When conditions seem chaotic, what you need, and what customers crave, is visibility and control," Nicky Tozer, EMEA SVP at Oracle NetSuite, said at the company's recent SuiteConnect London event.
When it comes to technology, the study found cloud looks set to be a crucial ally for many businesses, with 72% of founders saying they are using cloud technology to navigate economic challenges - and nearly all (94%) seeing the benefits. Being able to run their business remotely, being able to conduct accurate financial reporting, and being able to automate processes like payroll and invoicing were named as some of the biggest advantages to utilising cloud technology.
Elsewhere, the survey found 70% of bosses said they would encourage others to start a business now. NetSuite found nearly three-quarters (74%) of full-time UK workers have plans to start their own business, and nearly two-thirds (64%) plan to do so in the next two years, with the pull of being their own boss and gaining more control over their lives being particularly strong draws.
“It’s encouraging to see so many business founders and workers looking positively at the year ahead,” Tozer added.
“Our study suggests that founders are adapting to the persistent risk posed by inflation and recession by doubling down on productivity, the use of cloud technology, and meeting pricing pressures head on. The UK’s entrepreneurial spirit is shining brightly, as evidenced by the quarter of workers currently bringing in additional sources of income to their day job.”
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Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro. He has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and fellow Future title ITProPortal, and when he's not keeping track of all the latest enterprise and workplace trends, can most likely be found watching, following or taking part in some kind of sport.