UK SMEs expect financial difficulties in the year ahead2 min read
New research reveals that two fifths of UK SMEs believe their business may be in financial difficulties in a year’s time, while a small minority expect their business to wind down.
Equally concerning, one in six of SMEs believe they will fail to meet their debt obligations over the next 12 months.
The research was commissioned by the Business Banking Resolution Service (BBRS), an independent and free service established to resolve disputes between SMEs and their banks. It asked 522 senior business decision makers at UK companies with an annual turnover of between £5 million and £15 million, about the challenges they believe their businesses are likely to face in the year ahead.
Rising costs concerns
The research reveals that a significant proportion of SME leaders harbour concerns about the financial pressures posed by the current economic environment.
The BBRS asked SME leaders about the greatest challenges for their business over the next 12 months and identified the main concern as rising wage costs, cited by more than a third. This was closely followed by increases in non-wage business costs, staff retention and recruitment and rising interest rates and increased borrowing.
Such concerns are likely to be heightened by a more specific pressure, when an individual’s personal finances are linked to their business, with the research finding that 3 in 10 (30%) of SME leaders have acted as a personal guarantor for a loan that the business has taken out.
SME banking worries
The BBRS found that SMEs’ concerns extend to a broader range of financial risks and pressures connected to their business banking needs. When asked about their concerns for the year ahead, 60% of SMEs cited the impact of borrowing costs, followed closely by bank transaction fees, which more than half are concerned about.
Bank fraud and security issues are the other significant concerns raised by SMEs, highlighted by 54%. These fears appear heightened by past experience, with more than a…
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