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Transport sector speeding towards GDPR

02/01/2018

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Less than a quarter (23pct) of Transport firms truly understand what ‘personal data’ means, while the same number answered that they did not; the remaining 54pct were unsure of its meaning, according to a survey conducted by Close Brothers Asset Finance last Autumn. 

John Fawcett, CEO, Transport division at Close Brothers Asset Finance, said, "Keeping customer data secure is becoming one of the key issues of our times with the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into force in May 2018. It’s vital that businesses of all sizes understand the rights customers have when it comes to collecting and utilising their personal information, because currently only 42pct of SMEs in our sector understand customers’ new extended rights and another 43pct don’t have the right levels of permissions to contact their customers under the new requirements of the GDPR.”

Just 5pct of Transport firms share their customers' personal data with 3rd parties while 22pct are ‘unsure’ if they do or not; the remaining 73pct are adamant that they do not. When asked if they have a process in place to ensure they are collecting data in the correct manner, 60pct either did not or were unsure. 

Nearly six out ten (58pct) Transport SMEs expect their business to perform the same as it did in the previous 12 months, with 17pct hoping to expand against 10pct predicting contraction. Only 2pct expect to close their doors for business before the end of 2018. 

Of those surveyed, 22pct feel trading conditions have improved over the past 12 months and 57pct are of the view that things are no different to last year while things have become worse for 11pct. Eight percent say they can see opportunities but can't access the finance to make them happen.

For SMEs in the Transport sector, the most popular source of financial support and advice is their accountant (23pct) jointly followed by their friends and family and online (17pct). Nationally, friends and family were the first port of call (24pct) for assistance. 

“Many businesses have a long-established and trusted relationship with their accountants who have an objective understanding of a firm’s performance, and they are able to provide the kinds of insights not available elsewhere,” said John Fawcett. “There are also a large number of family-owned companies in our sector and it makes sense that the owner involves those they know and trust.” 

Nearly two fifths (38pct) of Transport companies are affected by slow payments, compared to the national average of 34pct, while a two thirds (65pct) feel that current legislation does not support SMEs to counteract slow payment by debtors. 

“Late compensation is a real problem for firms in our sector with a huge number of firms (78pct) going so far as to say that there is a culture of slow payments in the UK,” said John. “And one third (33pct) of firms have been forced to seek legal advice because of the issue, which is stressful and time consuming.

You can find the full report here: https://www.closeassetfinance.co.uk/industry-insights/sector-review-transport-2


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