Since 2009, Scotland’s business community has been working hard to restore growth and optimism. It hasn’t been easy.
Ongoing uncertainty within the eurozone, combined with the growing dominance of the Bric countries, has provided major obstacles.
However, the signs are becoming increasingly promising. The latest Grant Thornton UK/ICAEW UK Business Confidence Monitor reveals that Scottish businesses are now more confident than their counterparts south of the Border.
The optimism isn’t a blip. Our quarterly research indicates that companies throughout the country have been increasingly confident about their prospects for the last 12 months.
The firms we surveyed anticipate turnover to increase by – on average – 5.9 per cent this year, profits by 6.5 per cent and sales volumes by 5.8 per cent.
Key to this success has been a radical change in how companies work together.
From finance to retail, hospitality to construction, businesses are trying new approaches and placing a focus on growth at the heart of everything they do.
Business owners have discovered that, by working together, they can meet tough challenges, share experience, explore opportunities both here and internationally and – ultimately – work towards long-term, sustainable growth.
While the outlook is very positive, there remains some uncertainty. Scotland is becoming an increasingly influential international business player, which exposes it to the fluctuations of the world economic stage. Our exports are increasing, as are our potential export markets. But we need to be aware of the potential challenges that can arise if we become too dependent on external trade.
The Scottish business community has responded well to global uncertainty by working more closely together in partnership to drive sustainable economic growth.
By co-operating, sharing insight and being more innovative, we have created a positive climate for the business leaders to flourish.
There is now a real opportunity for this to translate into international growth, which should be celebrated by everyone in Scotland.
• Sandra Rodger is a partner at Grant Thornton UK LLP