Confidence among UK businesses may be high but potential problems lay ahead, predicts the latest ICAEW/Grant Thornton UK Business Confidence Monitor (BCM).

The BCM index – which is based on the views of 1,000 chartered accountants in senior positions throughout the UK business community – rose to 37.2 for the first quarter of 2014, up from 31.7 at the end of 2013.

The confidence monitor, along with other similar studies such as the Forum of Private Business survey, have found that confidence amongst businesses to expand in 2014 is growing, which is predicted to boost the economy by approximately 1.5% in the first quarter.

The strongest reported surge has been in the finance & insurance and building & construction sectors, with the manufacturing sector also buoyed by an increase in exports, the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply reported.

However, despite confidence from official government bodies, the BCM warns that export growth could retract, posing a “stumbling block” for the UK economy.

Michael Izza, chief executive at ICAEW, said:

“The export figures are disappointing and show that the government’s strategy is not working.

“We would like to see an increase in export guarantees to match the scale that German companies benefit from.”

Another concern for the UK economy is the skills shortage, which could risk hindering employment growth, especially in the manufacturing and construction industries. This could be a positive thing for skilled contractors who, it is predicted, will become more and more in demand.