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Nearly half of SME CFOs concerned about cashflow

Written by Josh Russell on Wednesday, 26 June 2013. Posted in Finance

Money worries are worsening for those with their hands on the pursestrings

Nearly half of SME CFOs concerned about cashflow

Few of us are strangers to money worries. There can’t be many people in the UK who haven’t once or twice borne the sweaty sheen of a late night tossing and turning wondering how they’re going to make ends meet. But if you’re the chief financial officer (CFO) of an entire company then one would imagine those midnight financial fears take on a whole new dimension. And it seems you’d be right.

According to research from recruitment specialist Robert Half UK, over two-fifths of CFOs in the UK are concerned about cashflow in their business. If this wasn’t bad enough, it seems those in smaller companies have even more on their plates, with almost half of CFOs in small or private businesses saying they’re worried about the amount of cash the firm has at its disposal.

It seems there’s also a pretty big difference in businesses financial fluidity when viewed region by region. The North and Scotland are by far the most severely concerned by cashflows running dry, with 48% of businesses feeling worried. Conversely, London was the most carefree region with just 37% worrying about financial shortfalls.

But what’s behind our businesses’ anxieties? What do they feel is hitting their pockets so hard? By far and away the most cited cause for concern was that of slow paying customers, with 61% of CFOs feeling it was the main reason the coffers were empty. Next on the list,45% felt that customer or client insolvencies lay behind their sleepless nights. Interestingly, higher taxes and problems securing financing featured much lower down the rankings, as only 26% and 23% of CFOs respectively felt that these were contributing to restrictions on cashflow.

Phil Sheridan, managing director of Robert Half UK, said:

“Cash flow clearly remains a priority for finance leaders, particularly small and private companies who rely heavily on liquid capital to keep business running as usual. With half of all UK jobs coming from SME businesses, it is essential for these organisations to be supported to get the economy back on the right track.”

Clearly, it’s important to address the underlying cause of what’s leaving our enterprises so cash-strapped. But it’s possible we might be looking at further financial gridlock for a little while yet; until slow paying customers and clients facing insolvency are able to address their own money woes, it seems CFOs might still have a few more sleepless nights ahead of them. 

About the Author

Josh Russell

Josh Russell

Our former editor, Russell was the man in charge of properly apostrophising our publication and ensuring Oxford commas are mercilessly excised. Our former digital doyen, he’s also a Photoshop pro, a dab hand with InDesign and the man to go to if you need a four-hour soliloquy about the UK's best silicon startups.

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