Money worries uppermost in minds of firms

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CASH worries are at the top of the list of concerns for Milton Keynes companies according to a survey of local firms.

A total of 39 advisers from the region, including senior lawyers and bankers, took part in the survey during an evening hosted by PwC earlier this month.

The event, which was held at the University Centre in Milton Keynes, focused on the regional economy and challenges faced by local businesses.

Just over half of respondents (51 per cent) believed funding expansion represents the biggest challenge to local businesses, while 41 per cent view managing cash flow as a key consideration for the local economy this year.

Mike Robinson, senior partner at PwC in Milton Keynes, said: “Based on the views of professional advisers, these survey findings provide us with a valuable new year snapshot of the issues facing local businesses. It is good to see that most are thinking positively about their prospects for the year ahead - their biggest concern being how to raise finance to fund their expansion plans.”

Overall, businesses advisers are upbeat about the year ahead. Despite the large number of overseas companies in the area, the majority of advisers polled (61 per cent) believe the financial crisis currently affecting the Eurozone will have only a marginal impact on their profitability in the year ahead.

Similarly, the majority (85 per cent) of business advisers believe the outlook for the local economy in 2012 is the same or better than last year, with just over half (51 per cent) agreeing that the proposed East-West rail link, connecting Oxford and Bicester with Milton Keynes and Bedford, will have a positive impact on the local economy.

Mr Robinson added: “It is encouraging to see that local advisers believe the current global debt crisis will have only a marginal impact on their business in the year ahead and PwC shares there optimism about the positive impact that investment in local infrastructure could bring to the area.

“Last year was a challenging year for many businesses and 2012 is likely to bring more of the same. Businesses will need to take whatever steps they need to manage costs at the same time as exploring new market opportunities and investing in the development of new products and services.”