Quarter of SMEs expect to go bust by 2024

A quarter of small business owners in the UK believe their business will fold in the next five years, research from Xero has claimed.

Late payments (54%), tax rates (44%) and cyber-attacks (27%) were some of the biggest concerns among the 500 owner-managers polled.

Other challenges included Brexit (44%), maintaining or increasing levels of productivity (31%) and the costs involved with recruitment (19%).

Around than a third (37%) of small business owners said they are experiencing the most turbulent period.

The pressures of running a small business in the current climate also impacted on the mental health of a similar amount of respondents.

Owner-managers typically work an extra nine hours a week, in addition to their standard working hours.

On average, being their own boss has also dented their personal finances with £11,846 of their own money being pumped into the business.

Gary Turner, Xero co-founder, said:

"The ways small businesses work now are dramatically different from the 1980s when the first personal computers arrived.

"But business needs to adapt to greater changes coming their way.

"New technologies will hasten a far greater consciousness towards the biggest killer of small businesses.

"Cashflow problems will decline as instant payment technologies take root as a cultural norm.

"I believe what we'll see is 30-day payment terms going the way of the fax machine."

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