A survey carried out by data provider Dun & Bradstreet has suggested that small firms' plans for growth are being adversely affected by late payments and restricted access to finance.
Overdue payments 'remain a prevalent challenge' for many businesses, the survey revealed. The average amount owed to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) currently totals £80,000 – a significant increase from last year's figure of £64,000.
The survey also outlined other factors that have hindered SMEs' ability to grow, including restricted access to appropriate finance; managing General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance; adopting new technology; and sourcing the right talent for their business.
The uncertainty surrounding Brexit has also negatively affected firms: 40% reported that Brexit has 'significantly slowed' their growth. An additional 64% of survey respondents stated that Brexit will be the deciding factor in determining the success of their business.
Commenting on the findings, Tim Vine, Head of European Trade Credit at Dun & Bradstreet, said: 'There's no doubt the months ahead will continue to be challenging as we move towards the Brexit deadline. Small business leaders are having to contend with scenario planning on top of dealing with day-to-day priorities such as cashflow management, late payments and securing finance for future growth.'