Faced with any economic change, small and medium-sized companies usually come out badly. Their greater vulnerability, derived from a less financially armed structure, has meant that in the face of the recent rise in prices, smaller businesses have seen how their activity has suffered and, therefore, they observe their situation in the short and medium term with uncertainty. term. 95% of SMEs have contemplated the impact of inflation on their accounts, while six out of ten have noticed it significantly, mainly due to the increase in the cost of supplies. And almost half declare that their profit margins have been considerably reduced, according to the latest barometer published this Monday by Cepyme.
The conclusions of the study of the employers’ association of small and medium-sized companies are drawn from a sample carried out between January 15 and April 13, a period in which inflation reached unknown heights in more than three decades, and in which nearly 700 companies warn of the effects that rising prices have had on them. Despite the blow, only 15% of those consulted acknowledge that the viability of their business is in danger, a figure that doubles when incorporating another 15% who acknowledge that they will have to resort to new financing channels to contain the bleeding in their accounts .
A little more than half, 58%, moreover, have been forced to transfer the increase in production costs to prices, as a containment formula, especially due to the higher cost of supplies (almost 71%), above of the electricity bill (29%). And it is that the thin skin of SMEs has suffered from the scale of prices and their renegotiation with suppliers: 87% have seen how the items pulled upwards, in most cases by more than seven points (45 %), although also on a smaller scale, between 3% and 7% (42%).
Although the barometer #LaPymeSpeaks focuses on inflation as a phenomenon with the greatest recent impact, throughout the questionnaire the health of small and medium-sized companies (up to 249 workers) is evaluated after the wear and tear caused by the coronavirus crisis, and if the wounds of the pandemic have blurred their future prospects. Seven out of ten SMEs (69.93%) consider that the crisis derived from covid-19 has negatively and very negatively affected their company last year, despite the fact that the impact of the activity restrictions only caused the 31% of them lost more than 3% of their collection. By contrast, 41% sold more than 3% more in the last twelve months, and 40% believe that sales will stay more or less the same as they have been for the next year.
The healing of the covid, however, has had an impact on hiring, since six out of ten SMEs have not hired any employees in the last twelve months, and almost seven out of ten assume that they will not do so in the next year . This approach is consistent with moderately optimistic future prospects ―a third of SMEs believe that things will be better for them―, despite the fact that a quarter see the outlook as bad or very bad.
He knows in depth all the sides of the coin.
Given this scenario, the policies adopted by the Government to contain the rise in the CPI that has accentuated the Russian offensive on Ukraine do not convince SMEs: eight out of ten consider them to be somewhat or not at all appropriate, and only a modest 4% see them as with good eyes. A relationship of forces that is replicated in terms of the assessment of the impact of the labor reform that came into force in December 2021. Three quarters of SMEs rate it as little or not at all appropriate, and only 9% approve of it.
With Russian bombs devastating Ukrainian territory and with energy and fuel prices still under the influence of the war, the future seems uncertain for small and medium-sized Spanish companies. More than half of them face it with pessimism and uncertainty (almost 62%), although just over a third (38%) are optimistic about the recovery of some indices that will allow them to move forward. The main concerns of all of them focus on the increase in labor costs (almost 55%), taxes (49%), and finding qualified personnel (almost 40%).