New research from AXA insurance found that over half of businesses viewed politicians and their local councils as ‘ least transparent institutions’ that the have dealings with on a regular basis.
As part of the report, 65 per cent of SME’s viewed energy providers as transparent, in contrast to the 73 per cent who viewed banks as transparent.
Only half of the businesses surveyed believed the government had their best interests at heart.
87 per cent of SMEs trust their supply chain the most, and 73 per cent trusted their insurers to pay out in full.
Accountants were viewed as the most transparent with 90 per cent, and 84 per cent of small businesses found lawyers the most transparent.
Amanda Blanc, CEO, of AXA’s commercial business, said: “Our research makes it clear that there are significant trust and transparency issues between SMEs and the institutions they deal with. Given the importance that SMEs play in fostering talent and providing economic growth, there is a worrying level of distrust and scepticism between SMEs and the supporting pillars upon whose services they depend. If SMEs don’t trust their bank or local government to treat them fairly and transparently then they are less likely to grow effectively.“
“Given that professional services rank at the top in terms of transparency and the supply chain in terms of trust, it seems that providing that personal touch is as important as ever. This flies in the face of the urge of some organisations to digitise their services – this strategy appears to alienate SMEs to the detriment of all parties,” she says. “Add to this lack of trust in Government and local councils, the concerns around late payments of what AXA estimates to be 1.7 million SMEs and we see there are serious barriers to growth that need to be addressed.”