Scots' anxiety on finance not borne out by results

Just 15 per cent of Scottish SMEs have missed a new business opportunity in the past year due to lack of finance, compared with nearly a quarter of their UK peers, according to research from challenger bank Aldermore.

Its Future Attitudes report, which surveyed more than 1,000 business bosses across the UK, found that accessing appropriate finance is none the less the main business concern over the next year for 13 per cent of Scottish SMEs, compared with 5 per cent UK-wide.

The lender also reported that SMEs in Scotland who have missed a new business opportunity in the last 12 months have found it only cost them an average of £15,000 in that time. That was the lowest of all regions and compared with an average £78,942 for each UK SME.

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Additionally, the figure of 23 per cent of SMEs nationwide, representing 1.27 million firms, missing out on new opportunities due to a lack of funding marks a 4 per cent increase on the prior year.

Carl D’Ammassa, group MD, business finance at Aldermore, said such a jump is “deeply concerning”, adding that lenders must work “closely” with SMEs to help them solve their funding issues.

Looking ahead at the main business concerns for UK SME leaders, just under a third say accessing appropriate funding and cash flow issues are their top business issues, with late payments also cited as the main worry for one in seven bosses.

D’Ammassa added that the report also found that achieving growth is the main business priority for 39 per cent of UK SMEs, “reinforcing the importance for business-owners of being able to evaluate different funding options in order to ensure that business goals can achieve future success”.