Nearly three quarters of freelancers and micro-businesses are against the UK leaving the EU, according to new research by award-winning cloud accounting providerFreeAgent.

In a survey of freelancers and micro-business owners carried out by FreeAgent – who provide cloud accounting software for freelancers, micro-businesses and their accountants – 73% of respondents said that they were not in favour of a “Brexit” and 72% felt that leaving the EU would have a negative impact on the UK economy.

The research, which surveyed owners of businesses with fewer than 10 employees, also revealed that few respondents felt that Brexitwould would be good for their own livelihoods, with just 5% saying that they thought leaving the EU would have a positive impact on their business. In contrast, almost half (49%) said that they thought Brexit would have a negative effect on their business and nearly a third (32%) said that it would have no impact.

Ed Molyneux, CEO and co-founder of FreeAgent, said: “Freelancers and micro-businesses – ie, those with fewer than 10 employees – comprise around 95% of the UK’s total number of businesses, yet they are regularly overlooked when it comes to discussing issues that affect the UK economy. But it’s clear that they have some very strong feelings about the EU referendum.

“We’ve found that the majority of these smaller micro-business owners are actually in favour of the UK remaining in the EU, and more than half of them believe that Brexit will have a negative impact on their own businesses. The overwhelming majority also feel that leaving the EU will have a negative impact on the UK economy.

“Being a partner nation in the EU is hugely beneficial in terms of trade, and I think that’s something that resonates with a lot of our customers. We work with many web-based small businesses who are increasingly selling products and services worldwide rather than just domestically, and I suspect they think a Brexit will create an uncertain future for them.

“For tech companies, in particular, the EU also opens up the opportunity to hire world-class developers from Europe who can work alongside the best talent from the UK to create more sophisticated technology, develop better products and services and to help build bigger businesses.

“I personally think that isolating the UK from Europe through a ‘Brexit’ strategy is likely to be extremely unhelpful to any UK business that has aspirations to grow outside of the UK’s borders – and it’s a view that’s clearly shared by the majority of the UK’s micro-business owners.”