New competition guides for small businesses

By Michael McGlinchey, ICAS

20 November 2015

New resources to help accountants make small business clients aware of competition law have been issued by the Competition and Markets Authority.

The Competition and Markets Authority has released fresh resources to help accountants in practice make small business clients aware of competition law.

The new guides build on previously released material and include an at-a-glance guide to competing fairly in business, information on how small businesses can comply with competition law and a competition law checklist, to help businesses identify potential risks.

The CMA drive to raise awareness follows recent research which showed a lack of knowledge about competition law among a majority of smaller businesses who took part in a survey.

The guides makes the point that competition is an essential part of business and also assist owners in identifying anti-competitive behaviour so that they can report it.

Earlier this year, the CMA issued an introductory 60-Second Summary of competition law, which was supported by ICAS and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).

The CMA said it has now commissioned further research which showed that most small businesses have a “shared ethical sense that certain anti-competitive practices, such as price-fixing, are unfair or wrong and want to do the right thing”.

The research also found that businesses want straightforward materials explaining the main breaches of competition law: price-fixing; bid-rigging and market-sharing, and how to ensure compliance.

The CMA materials include eight animated films and a quiz. The short films can be viewed on the CMA’s YouTube channel.

Alex Chisholm, CMA Chief Executive, said: “We have worked closely with groups representing small businesses to learn more about what they do and don’t know about competition law and they told us they need information that is short, simple and easy-to-use.

“These new materials explain which behaviours are illegal, and why they cause harm. The victims of anti-competitive activity will often be other businesses, so knowing what illegal behaviour looks like and how to report it can help businesses protect themselves from others which are acting unfairly.

“The potential consequences of breaking the law are very serious. That’s why it’s important that businesses know what to look out for and report this to the CMA to prevent other businesses and consumers from losing out.”


  • CA Practitioner Service (CAPS)

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