RBS and its NatWest imprint are launching a new working capital management tool today that can be downloaded for free by small-to-medium sized enterprises (SMEs). The Working Capital Optimiser is being unveiled alongside a survey showing that over half of UK SMEs (55%) are concerned about business cash flow.
The RBS Working Capital Optimiser is available for download online and includes features such as the ability for SMEs to understand and investigate their current cash flow working position, identify improvements and scenario plan for future activities within their business. The aim is to make it easier for SMEs to focus their capital on the areas that will drive the maximum benefit for their business.
The survey commissioned by Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) to coincide with the new launch claims that 55% of the representative sample of hundreds of UK SMEs questioned are concerned about their business cash flow. A further 25% rely solely on Excel spreadsheets, with only 14% of SMEs using professional cash flow tools.
Yet despite these concerns, 41% of those surveyed had never run a cash flow forecast, even though poor cash flow management meant that a fifth of SME’s, with 26 employees or more, had been unable to pay staff on time. Research also showed cash flow was stunting UK SME growth, with one in four businesses admitting they had been forced to turn down a high volume order because of concerns around capital.
SMEs with 26 to 100 employees, were worst impacted, with 41% stating that they had been unable to scale-up their businesses, invest in new technology or larger premises, due to cash flow problems.
When it came to financial support and advice, around a quarter of SMEs surveyed felt like there was nobody they could ask for advice and 78% felt that the UK government was not doing enough to provide SMEs with access to capital.