Businesses in Scotland: 2022

Information on the number of businesses (also known as enterprises) operating in Scotland.

This document is part of a collection


This publication provides an estimate of the number of businesses operating in Scotland. Another term for this is Scotland’s business stock. Businesses are often also referred to as enterprises.

This publication includes all businesses that operate in Scotland. It does not matter where their head-quarters are. This differs from UK-wide publications. These tend to publish region/country results according to where a business has its head-quarters. ‘Businesses in Scotland’ goes wider than this. This publication provides statistics on all businesses with a presence in Scotland.

The focus of this publication is on private sector businesses. The private sector includes the following types of business:

  • Companies (including Building Societies)
  • Sole Proprietors
  • Partnerships
  • Public Corporations/Nationalised Bodies
  • Non-profit making bodies and mutual associations

The main purpose of this publication is to provide information about the number of businesses operating in Scotland. The latest figures relate to a snapshot of the Inter-Departmental Business Register (IDBR) as at March 2022. But the estimates also include information about businesses’ employment and turnover. These employment and turnover variables get updated on the IDBR via several sources and at different times. This needs consideration if comparing employment and turnover estimates over time. The employment and turnover data should be treated as ‘auxiliary variables’. These auxiliary variables can be used to compare turnover or employment shares across industrial sectors or size bands or areas, or to determine how turnover or employment shares have changed over a period of several years. For employment the latest data will tend to be from 2021 and for turnover the latest data will tend to be from 2020. For many businesses, turnover in 2020 would have been much lower than in previous years due to the COVID-19 national lockdowns and restrictions that impacted trading conditions.

The total number of businesses operating in Scotland includes registered and unregistered businesses. Registered businesses are businesses that are registered for Value Added Tax (VAT) and/or Pay As You Earn (PAYE). Unregistered businesses are registered neither for VAT nor for PAYE. A business must register for Value Added Tax (VAT) if its annual turnover is over the VAT threshold of £85,000 (as at March 2022). A business will register for Pay As You Earn (PAYE) if it employs anyone.


For enquiries about this publication please contact:

Marina Curran

Business & Innovation Statistics

Office of the Chief Economic Adviser

e-mail: or


For general enquiries about Scottish Government statistics please contact:

Office of the Chief Statistician

Telephone: 0131 244 0442



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