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Last updated: 30.04.15

SMEs lack training opportunities

New research has revealed that four in ten small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) have experienced an employee leaving to go to a larger company that offers more training opportunities. This costs the business, on average, £3,340 - significantly more than the cost of providing training.

The study, conducted by the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT), also found that 15 per cent of SMEs don't spend any money on training, while 26 per cent only spend money on training ad hoc, rather than having a specific training budget.

On average, those with a budget for training dedicate £1,739 each year, with this sum dropping to £603 a year for micro businesses.

The AAT's research also showed that more than a third of employees (36 per cent) recruited in finance roles in SMEs don't hold the relevant qualifications.

This is more likely to lead to issues surrounding unpaid invoices and tax miscalculations, which, on average, cause a loss of £1,277 to every SME in the UK - equating to £2.9 billion across the economy.

Mark Farrar, chief executive of the AAT, said: "Cost is perceived as a barrier to business owners when it comes to finance and accounting qualifications, but it shouldn't have to be. Qualifications can be very flexible and cost-effective, meaning that support for small businesses is more accessible than people might think.

"Having qualified staff reduces the chances of losing money through issues like late payment fines and incorrect invoices, making the business as profitable as possible."

The AAT urges more SMEs to consider qualifications for their accounting and finance staff.

Virtual College provides a range of online tools that specialise in the business and enterprise division to help workers maintain and develop their skills. For more information, please visit: http://www.virtual-college.co.uk/e-academies/Businesses.aspx

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