Almost three-quarters of business leaders believe independence would have a negative impact on companies in Scotland, a new poll suggests.
A study by Ipsos MORI found that 72% think this, while 13% think it would have a positive impact. Around on in 10 (9%) believe independence would have no impact on firms in Scotland and 6% do not know what the effect would be.
Of the 251 business decision makers questioned, more than half (56%) believe independence would worsen the prospects for their own company. Only one in 10 believe their company's prospects would improve if Scotland left the UK, 26% believe they would stay the same and 8% do not know.
The vast majority of firms have done little or no planning for independence, the survey also suggests. When asked to what extent their company is planning ahead, 76% say "not at all", 16% have done "just a little" work and 3% say their firm has made a "great deal" of preparations, with 4% saying a "fair amount" of work had been done.
Mark Diffley, research director at Ipsos MORI said: "This survey illustrates the concern that senior decision makers have about the prospect of an independent Scotland in the event of a 'Yes' vote in the 2014 referendum.
"These fears span the perceived negative impact of independence on both the businesses of the senior decision-makers we interviewed and on the Scottish business community more widely.
"This comprehensive picture of business attitudes follows our regular polling of public opinion which has shown support for independence falling during 2012.
"It is possible that so few business leaders are actively planning for the prospect of independence because they do not think that the 'Yes' campaign will win the referendum. Looking ahead, it is clear that the 'Yes' campaign has the biggest challenge in persuading the business community of the benefits of independence."
Finance Secretary John Swinney said: "We are engaging positively with Scotland's business community and all strands of Scottish society, and are confident that we can and will win the positive case for a 'Yes' vote in 2014 and the opportunities that can only come with independence."
The poll was done before this week's Autumn Statement where Chancellor George Osborne "announced that austerity will continue until at least 2018, which reinforces the case for Scotland gaining the powers of independence so that we can chart a better course and build a strong economy and fair society".