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Evaluation of Scottish Enterprise Engagement with Account Managed Companies


The aim of account management is to generate additional economic impact by helping supported companies to achieve growth aspirations, generate and safeguard employment and improve efficiency and productivity. Scottish Enterprise (SE) uses the account management approach to identify and facilitate the development of Scotland’s growth companies in line with the strategic objectives of the Government Economic Strategy (GES). The evaluation assesses SE’s account management approach and SE’s engagement with account managed companies over the four year period 2008/09 to 2011/12. In particular, it aims to identify and better understand the net additional economic impact of account management support.


The methodology consisted of: a desk-based review of SE data; a telephone survey of 601 account managed businesses; qualitative face-to-face interviews with a sample of 64 account managed companies; and consultations with key individuals/groups within SE.


The evaluation concludes that account management is an effective intervention which is performing well, with high satisfaction among the companies involved. It provides considerable economic benefits both at the company level and for the Scottish economy as a whole. For example, 97% of survey respondents report that account management has resulted in business benefits for their organisation. Companies value the skills and knowledge of SE staff (‘softer’ support) as well as more tangible product support and funding. Most frequently cited business benefits of support include: improved strategic and operational planning; improved business processes; improved management capability; workforce/skills development; and entering new markets. This highlights that product and ‘softer‘ support delivers a range of benefits. Overall, approximately 80% of the surveyed companies stated that SE support had increased their level of turnover and a further 5% stated that turnover had grown faster. SE support had helped 40% of companies increase exports to existing markets, and helped 50% to enter new international markets. 75% of companies stated that their innovation spend had increased as a result of SE support, and 70% reported that productivity had improved. The support provided has generated an estimated £1.11bn of net additional GVA impact to the Scottish economy over the four year period to 2011/12. The GVA impacts rose year-on-year from £220m in 2008/09 to £332m in 2011/12 as the number of companies account managed increased and average impact per company increased. The support provided has also created and/or safeguarded an estimated 15,130 jobs over the evaluation period. The evidence suggests that account management represents good value for money with every £1 spent on delivering interventions returning £5.34 for the Scottish economy. Since the previous evaluation in 2008/09, account management has improved on key measures of economic impact and value for money.


A total of 19 recommendations are provided, with the emphasis on incremental improvements and a greater focus on growth companies rather than a wholesale change in delivery approach. Overall, it is recommended that the programme continues largely in its current form, with some refinements such as: the incorporation of sustainability measures into the performance management framework for account management; offering manufacturing companies the opportunity of a Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service (SMAS) review as standard; potentially increasing account management resources; the transferring of lead responsibility for gathering/collating data on company performance from account managers to a centralised resource; and the provision of training in project management and leading multi-disciplinary teams for account managers as standard.

Author Upper Quartile; Additional Research; Research Resource
Published Year 2013
Report Type Evaluation
  • Enterprise
    Support to existing/growth businesses