Almost a third of Credit Managers, those at the heart of determining risk and managing cash through a business, would vote to leave the EU, with almost half believing that Brexit will have little or no impact on their business.
Indeed more than one in ten (11.0 percent) believe that Brexit will in fact be good news for their business, a 4.5 percent increase on the same period last year.
In a survey of 300 members of the Chartered Institute of Credit Management (CICM) – three quarters of who conduct international trade – 32.0 percent said that they would vote to leave the EU – a rise of almost a fifth (21.0 percent) on the same period last year. A further 21 percent were still undecided.
The survey was taken before figures from the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) were released on May 25. The IFS suggests that while the UK’s public finance would be improved by leaving to the tune of £8 billion in the immediate term, the long-term economic prospects are decidedly more gloomy with lower GDP levels and lower cash levels of public spending.
Philip King, Chief Executive of the CICM, says that while the shift in opinion has been marked, almost half (47.0 percent) of CICM members are still in favour of staying as part of the union: “This means that only a small percentage of the undecided vote needs to be converted for the ‘stay’ campaign to carry the day,” he says.
He also says that the rapidly changing nature of the debate is making it difficult even for experienced credit professionals to evaluate the ‘true’ impact of change: “CICM members work across all sectors and industries, and play a critical role in facilitating ‘sales’ by determining what constitutes a ‘good’ or a ‘bad’ risk and agreeing the terms and conditions on which business should be conducted,” he explains.
“If the economy shrinks, and the sales opportunity becomes smaller, the successful companies will be those with professional credit management strategies and people in place to take the calculated risks necessary to compete,” he continues.
“Many thousands of businesses, however, without the necessary resource and experience will be badly exposed and, if the IFS figures are to be believed, then many businesses will fail as a result.”
At the moment, Philip says, the argument with regards whether to remain or exit has not yet been won: “Our research suggests that the ‘stay’ campaign has not yet won the argument convincingly and the positive results of being part of the EU are not always getting through.
“Whereas our own position as a Chartered Institute remains neutral, our members are a good barometer for how many in the industry currently feel, and with time running out, we need to see more positive arguments from both sides.”