In 2017, digital skills aren't a luxury for small businesses but a must. Almost every type of business can benefit from being able to use the internet to their advantage.
The most recent Bank of Scotland Business Digital Index found that Scotland is leading the way when it comes to digital skills, with fewer than a third of businesses there lacking the basic skills needed to get the most out of being online.
Despite the prevalence of the internet, there are still a surprising number of businesses that are resistant to embracing it. For example, in the UK, the average number of businesses that lack basic digital skills is at 38%. The only part of the UK that can rival Scotland in this regard is London, which also has roughly 30% of businesses that lack basic digital skills.
These numbers might seem surprising but there are reasons why some businesses are reluctant to fully embrace the internet. Cyber security, for example is one of the fastest rising reasons why small businesses don't conduct more business online.
When it comes to cyber security, Scotland is also ahead of the rest of the UK, with 57% of Scottish businesses saying they need to invest in cyber security, compared to the UK average of 69%.
Head of accountants and business advisers BDO LLP in Scotland, Martin Gill had the following to say -
"British businesses are feeling pretty confident at the moment, helped by the impact of the currency depreciation on export competitiveness.
"There's also a feeling out there that the world economy is picking up again as we go into 2017.
"Brexit may mean gloomy news in the press and, at times, chaos in government. But our business community is getting on with it on the basis that opportunities for growth are there to be grabbed."