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Breaking the SME finance myth You may think most small businesses are Starved of cash, but the hard numbers tell a different story.

jobba som valutamäklare Accountants are often called upon to help their small business clients deal with funding and liquidity issues. Why do Australian businesses seek external funds, and how successful are they?

Tadalafil Oral Strips USA Buy This is an important issue. Most people might think that many small businesses desperately need financing but are frequently denied it. It’s a commonly held belief, both in the business sector and in the general community, but it’s not necessarily the most accurate picture.

24option com è affidabile Each year, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) surveys a large sample of businesses to see what, if any, business finance has been sought over the previous financial year; why they looked for this funding; whether they tried to access debt funding or equity funding; and how successful they were in doing so. The results may be surprising. Contrary to popular perception, less than 20 per cent of Australian firms actually went looking for outside money. Micro-firms (those with fewer than five employees, and often consisting of only the business owner) were least likely to seek finance, and even among small businesses (those with 5–19 employees), less than a quarter did so. In general, the bigger your firm is, the more likely you are to seek finance.

source site Why did firms go looking for money? The most common reason is liquidity – financing short-term cash flow needs. This accounted for more than 40 per cent of borrowing. But larger firms are actually more likely to need this than small or micro-sized enterprises, even though most people believe that cash flow funding is a major concern for small business. Although the ABS doesn’t delve into the details, there is some underlying logic in the idea that the larger the firm, the larger its regular disbursements, which may explain the greater pressure on its cash flow (this is particularly true in a time of economic volatility). Alternately, it just may be that small businesses are better cash managers than their larger counterparts. Another frequent driver is equipment needs. Firms indicated that they often sought finance for the replacement of equipment or machinery (33 per cent), the purchase of extra equipment (22 per cent) or to upgrade tools and machinery (18 per cent). Once again, larger firms are more active here, as may be expected in view of their greater requirements.

uguale a stockpair demo The most common type of finance applied for was debt finance. Broadly defined, it means any form of funding that has to be ultimately repaid – such as a loan, overdraft, trade terms, credit card or line of credit. Debt finance is overwhelmingly the preferred tool of choice – more than 90 per cent of businesses went looking for debt, while only a quarter applied for equity funding (meaning exchange for a share in the ownership of the firm, in one form or another). How successful were they? In most cases, businesses that seek debt finance do, in fact, tend to get what they ask for. About 88 per cent of firms succeeded in obtaining some form of debt. However, it’s a different story when it comes to arranging equity finance – just over half (55 per cent) reported a positive response.

Although these trends are broadly true for all sorts of firms, there are some notable discrepancies. For example, micro-businesses are less likely to obtain finance than other firms. Likewise, firms in growing sectors of the economy – such as IT – are more likely to need expansion finance and cash flow support than those in mature markets.

Some of these figures are broadly in line with other research. For example, a recent report released by the NSW Business Chamber, based on research by Deloitte Access Economics, reported that, nationally, 5 to 10 per cent of SMEs experienced problems accessing finance. This is about 100,000 to 200,000 firms across Australia. That’s a lot of financing activity occurring at any given time.

These data are interesting in their own right but are also very broadbrush. Each business has its own story, and it is at this level that the practitioner can provide guidance. Particularly relevant is the issue of planning. Regular business planning can assist in forecasting and managing cash flow fluctuations over the business cycle, and budgeting for capital plant and equipment turnover are the reported main drivers of finance requirements.

If this seems a bit ‘Business 101’, consider this: the ABS also surveyed the use of business performance measures by the sample of firms. The results are sobering – 36 per cent of firms reported little or no reliance on financial metrics (eg profit, sales growth, ROI) and 40 per cent reported little or no reliance on cost metrics. Clearly, some firms could do with some guidance in these areas.



source site About the authors

Mark Sergent and Nadine Barry are based at the University of Newcastle Scott Holmesis based at the University of Western Sydney. Michael Schaper is deputy chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and adjunct professor at Curtin University. For more information: Mark G.Sargentonewcastle

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