Tuesday, 13 January 2015 15:22

8 out of 10 businesses fail to save for a rainy day

We all know healthy cash flow is the life blood of any small business, but when your cash flow is interrupted, survival depends on having funds in reserve - and the same is true of your customers.

So it helps to know how many small businesses out there have savings set aside 'for a rainy day', and how many would be unable to pay you if their own income was interrupted.

The figures don't make for encouraging reading - according to a report from British personal and commercial banking providers Aldermore, fewer than one in three businesses have a savings account at all.

Of those that do, 21% have less than £5,000 saved, and 7% have nothing at all.

Taken together, those figures add up to almost 78% of all UK SMEs who have either less than £5,000, an empty savings account, or no savings account at all.

Aldermore's Simon Healy said:

"It is easy to understand why many businesses are attracted to the convenience of keeping their savings with their current account provider.

"However, it is important to ensure that any surplus funds are working as hard as business owners do."

The figures also serves as an indication that, in an economic climate of historically low interest rates, many businesses are simply not perceiving any of their funds as being set aside 'just in case'.

While this is understandable with many savings accounts paying little to no interest, it means those funds are not siloed for use in an emergency - and are perhaps therefore more likely to be used on day-to-day costs, rather than to service outgoings during a period of business interruption.

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Be the 2 out of 10

Just because other SMEs are making mistakes and lacking in preparedness, it doesn't mean you have to do the same - and a proactive approach to credit control is one of the best ways to insure yourself against their higher level of risk.

Carry out background credit checks before extending a line of credit to any new business customer, and you can help to spot anyone who is at high risk of being unable to pay you what they owe.

Issue invoices promptly and chase for payment, and you can keep things on track, making it harder for late payments to simply go unpaid indefinitely.

Most importantly of all, by making sure you are paid in full and on time - or even early, where possible - you put your own cash flow position in as healthy a state as possible.

This should make it easier for you to identify what is essential working capital and what is surplus profits; and once you have done that, you can find a business savings account that pays a good rate of interest, and make sure your spare funds are doing good work in generating even more income for your business.

Good credit control really is its own reward - so don't follow the crowd into bad business banking practices, but instead position yourself on the upward spiral towards healthier credit control and cash flow.

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