One in three UK small and medium enterprises (SMEs) say their survival is dependent on accessing finance by the end of the year, new research from NerdWallet has revealed.
The financial comparison website surveyed 500 senior decision-makers within UK SMEs. It found that 33% fear their business will collapse if they are unable to access finance (such as a loan or credit) by the end of 2022. A similar number (32%) do not have a financial plan in place to sustain operations over the next 12 months.
NerdWallet’s research also found that securing finance has become more difficult in the eyes of many business leaders. Over two fifths (41%) of SMEs said finance has become less accessible than it was a year ago.
Elsewhere the study revealed that 31% of UK SMEs applied for at least one form of business finance – such as a business loan or credit card – in the first half of 2022. However, a fifth (20%) had a finance application rejected since the beginning of the year despite having a good or excellent credit score.
Connor Campbell, a finance expert from NerdWallet, said: “UK SMEs have been forced to overcome many challenges over the past two years. From the pressures of Covid-19 to soaring inflation, it is unsurprising that so many need to access finance to maintain operations. It is worrying, therefore, that a significant proportion of SMEs are finding it increasingly difficult to access such resources.
“However, SMEs must not feel disheartened. While they may feel as though traditional banks are less willing to lend money, there are still a lot of alternative options available for them to consider. Peer-to-peer loans, invoice financing, and equipment financing are all potential options that can provide vital resource to keep operations running. Exploring options on comparison websites could also be a good starting point for SMEs. It is important for SMEs to do their own research into each form of business finance to make sure they fully understand the risks attached and establish whether or not it is the right fit for their business.
“The coming year is likely to present many more challenges for SMEs, and ensuring they have adequate access to funding resources will be of utmost importance. Positively, there are plenty of options beyond the traditional finance routes. The key for SMEs is to remain flexible and open minded. In doing so, they should be able to develop a sustainable finance plan that not only helps them weather the current economic storm, but allows their business to grow in the years to come.”