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SMEs Concerned About Cashflow This Christmas

New Study Shows 70% Of SMEs Are Worried About Cash Shortages Over The Festive Period


The majority of Britain's small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are concerned about possible cash shortages this Christmas, new research has shown.

According to Platform Black's latest UK SME survey, 70 per cent of firms said they are worried about cashflow problems over the festive period.

In addition to this, 56 per cent of small businesses revealed they will spend the coming weeks trying to figure out how they will fund their operations in 2014.

The economy has started to recover in 2013 and this momentum is expected to carry over into 2014, giving SMEs more opportunities to grow.

However, the Platform Black study suggested 89 per cent of entrepreneurs are still coming to terms with the best ways to expand their businesses in the new year.

Although the government has introduced a number of measures to help SMEs gain access to finance and cut red tape, many firms feel the provisions outlined in the recent Autumn Statement do not go far enough.

Louise Beaumont, co-founder of Platform Black, believes a lot of SMEs do not realise how many different forms of credit are available to them.

"This survey lays bare the true plight of the UK's SMEs. The single biggest issue facing them is getting access to finance," she commented.

"What is even more concerning is that the vast majority of SMEs are totally unaware that they are able to access alternative finance from non-bank providers."

Aside from the measures announced during the Autumn Statement - which included an extension of business rate relief - the government has also revealed details of its Small Business: GREAT Ambition programme.

This will include steps to tackle late payments to SMEs, which will ease their cashflow concerns.

Enterprise minister Matthew Hancock confirmed that public sector bodies will endeavour to pay small firms on time, while discussions will be held to come up with the best ways to ensure private sector businesses are also settling their invoices as promptly as possible.

Expert Opinion
It is of course that time of year when small businesses turn their attention to the coming 12 months and it is important for such companies to carefully consider their targets for 2014, as well as how they intend to achieve them.

"A key part of this is of course finance and there are a range of options available to small companies including Government-based incentives. However, there are many other issues that SMEs and start-ups need to bear in mind, such as having the right support network in place to ensure they can reach all of their goals.

"Legal advice is fundamental to this and we would urge growing businesses to always factor such issues into their plans for the months ahead, whether it is employment advice on boosting a workforce or finalising contracts on new commercial property."
Fergal Dowling, Partner