Scotland business

Scottish businesses are digital skills 'leaders'

Computer Image copyright Thinkstock

Small businesses in Scotland are leading the way when it comes to digital skills, according to a study.

The annual Bank of Scotland Business Digital Index assessed small firms in five key skills needed to get the most out of being online.

It found that fewer than a third of small businesses north of the border lacked these basic skills.

This compares to a UK average of 38%. Only London rivals Scotland in terms of this measure.

Experts said the lack of key digital skills was a primary barrier to doing more business online, with 15% of firms across the UK stating this was the main barrier, more than doubling since 2015.

The skills assessed for the current report were managing information, communicating, transacting, creating and problem solving.

Cost saving

The report also noted cyber security was rising in prominence as a reason for small businesses not doing more online.

Almost 60% of Scottish firms said they still needed to invest in cyber security, lower than the UK average of 69%.

Philip Grant, chair of the bank's Scottish executive committee, said: "It's pleasing to see that the Business Digital Index shows digital maturity is increasing for small businesses in Scotland, however, there are still too many without basic digital skills.

"It's clear that being online can open the doors to opportunities, as well as cost and time saving benefits.

"We must do more to encourage small businesses based in Scotland to invest in digital skills, allowing them to make the most out of being online and to reap the benefits."

Two thousand businesses and charities across the UK were surveyed, including 109 in Scotland. The study was developed along with Doteveryone and Accenture.