April 12th, 2019.

Research from American Express found that, even though most SMEs (68%) think cash flow is important to their business, 30% find it difficult to access the finance they need. The number of SMEs facing this challenge is up 6% year on year, in line with the global average.

As a result, UK SMEs are moving away from traditional sources of finance like bank loans. Use of said bank loans was down 20% (90% to 70%) between 2017 and 2018. What’s more, a significant 43% of SMEs don’t agree with the statement that “traditional banks currently provide them with all of the finance they need”.

More SMEs are looking to prioritise flexibility and ease when it comes to accessing finance. Flexibility of repayment options, low fees and ease of application reign as the most important factors in their decision making. UK SMEs also report a 7% increase in the use of existing working capital and a 13% increase in the use of peer-to-peer lending over the past year.

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