E-business will grow as a result of chancellor Gordon Brown's announcement of tax incentives for small-to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), research shows.
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Just over half of the companies questioned said they were encouraged by the tax break for SMEs buying IT and going into e-commerce, outlined by the chancellor in last month's budget.
The survey by NOP of 500 firms with less than 50 employees showed there was not much upgrading to be done. Of those surveyed 60% had systems that were less than three years old. While 8% of companies installed their systems three to five years ago and only 18% more than five years ago.
According to the NOP survey 37% of smaller companies already have a Web site and 10% sell goods and services online.
Just over half intend to establish an e-commerce company Web site within the next three years and 56% believe their IT/telecommunications systems are sophisticated enough to allow them to expand into e-commerce.
The tax break allows any small business buying computers or investing in e-commerce and new IT to write off against tax the full 100% of the cost in the year of purchase.