In September 2020, Nimbla conducted a survey of 2000 SME businesses . Most worryingly, the survey found that more than a third (38%) of SMEs are waiting to be paid an average of £59,013 for work they completed before the lockdown. A fifth (21%) believe they will never be paid for this work. The amount owed is set to increase dramatically in 2021. Despite this high rate of loss, only 4% of business owners currently take out credit or invoice insurance which would protect against this. Below is a summary of the study’s key findings.

Key Findings

  1. A third of businesses surveyed have had 3‐5 unpaid invoices every year over the last 3 years.
  2. 25% of businesses spent at least a week chasing an invoice payment which was never paid because the customer became insolvent.
  3. 44% of respondents have had unpaid invoices due to customers becoming insolvent or bankrupt.
  4. 37% of businesses would be unable to afford to take on larger projects if one of their largest customers became insolvent.
  5. A quarter of respondents are struggling with bad debt due to COVID-19.
  6. A quarter of respondents have had to write off invoices exceeding £25,000 due to customer insolvency.
  7. 34% of respondents are very nervous about companies asking for longer payment terms (from 30 to 60 days).
  8. 33% of respondents tread carefully with customers on trust.
  9. 60% of respondents describe their customers as pessimistic about the future trading environment.
  10. 65% of respondents expect to make less than £200,000 between now and the end of the year.
  11. 40% of businesses are worried that some of their customers will become insolvent by the end of the year.

Many SME owners are rethinking how they do business with respect to payments. If you are one of them, click here to get a quote on invoice insurance to protect your business.

October 6, 2020