Solutions for uncertain times

According to the latest Close Brothers Business Barometer, businesses are confident about the future despite rising costs impacting cash flow

The survey, which canvassed the opinions of 900 senior SME decision makers in Ireland and the UK, found that 39% were confident that the economy would continue to grow. A further third said that while it could be a slow path to prosperity, the worst was behind us.
Overall, 88% also believe their business will perform well, either expanding or broadly staying the same over the next 12 months. However, many also flagged the impact that rising costs are having on working capital. Nearly half of decision makers said that the increased cost of trading is causing cash flow issues.
Businesses reported that the increased costs of food, fuel and energy were having the most impact. In addition, 43% said that they have had to raise wages in the past six months and two fifths passed additional charges onto customers. Companies in the Republic of Ireland were more likely to feel the impact of rising costs, with 43% saying they had experienced cash flow issues as a result. This compares to 35% in Northern Ireland.
Paul Stephens, Head of Corporate and ABL at Close Brothers Commercial Finance said: “It’s encouraging to hear that firms are feeling more optimistic. While global uncertainties and rising costs continue to create challenges, our solutions are designed to help business owners overcome issues in different scenarios, from providing immediate capital to boosting longer term cash flow strategies.
“With a range of finance products, including invoice finance, asset-based lending and asset finance, we’re well positioned to help SMEs navigate the near-term future. Our local specialists will continue to work with businesses to ensure they can access the working capital they need to move forward.”

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Close Brothers
Close Brothers is a leading modern merchant bank, recognised as a FTSE250 company and listed on the London Stock Exchange. We provide lending to a range of companies, with a core purpose of helping the people and businesses of Ireland and Britain thrive over the long term.
To achieve this, each of our diverse, specialist businesses have a deep knowledge of the industry sectors and asset classes we serve, so we can understand the challenges and opportunities that our customers and clients face. We support the unique needs of our customers and clients to ensure that they thrive, rather than simply survive, whatever the market conditions.