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An Eye On SMEs: Cash Flow Challenges, Innovation Adoption And Cybersecurity


Small businesses are the lifeblood of the economy. This week, the stats are all about SMEs across the U.S., U.K., Asia and Australia. The figures uncover the globalization of SMEs, their demand for better cross-border payments services and their adoption of innovation.

But the data isn’t all cheery: New numbers were released on late payments to small suppliers and cybersecurity threats. Plus, we recap more statistics impacting large conglomerates and how they’re facing some of the same challenges as SMEs, too.


364 Billion: The value in U.S. dollars that small and medium-sized suppliers in the U.K. are owed by their corporate buyers. Further, the SME Risk Index found that 43,000 SMEs each are owed at least $1.4 million (about £1 million). Two-thirds of businesses surveyed said these outstanding payments forced them to close; 41 percent said they imposed cash flow challenges on their businesses. Nearly half agreed that the U.K. government is failing to do all it can to ensure that small businesses get paid on time by their corporate clients.

96: The percentage of small and medium-sized businesses in Singapore that reported having an overseas presence, a finding that researchers at the Standard Chartered Bank and Singapore Business Federation said signals new cross-border growth for the country’s businesses. India was the top spot for companies to expand their operations, followed by Indonesia, Cambodia and China. Nearly half of those surveyed said their revenue would likely grow as a result of further overseas expansion.

76: The percentage of small businesses surveyed by cybersecurity law firm Moore Blatch that said they were concerned about cyberthreats. Meanwhile, 17 percent said they had already fallen victim to cybercrime. Analysts said the figures highlight how SMEs are likely to be hit harder by these attacks, which can lead to hurt reputations and a loss of business. While those conclusions may be accurate, it is important to note that the survey only spoke with 30 SMEs in the U.K.

28: The percentage of SMEs in Australia that reported considering cost as the top barrier to adopting innovation, including machinery, equipment, education and employee training. The figures were released by the MYOB Business Monitor, which asked more than 1,000 small and medium-sized businesses in the country about their innovation adoption practices. The financial burden of adopting these tools isn’t stopping these businesses from doing so, however; according to researchers, about one-third of SMEs said they managed to find the capital to invest in innovation.

10: The percentage of SMEs in the U.K. that said they are looking outside of traditional banks for their cross-border payments needs. That’s according to research from East & Partners, which found that one in ten respondents are using at least one brokerage specializing in helping businesses make payments between currencies. That includes companies like Western Union and American Express. Reports concluded that brokers can be more competitive in forex payments services than traditional banks can because they offer more competitive prices, with traditional banks often offering their small business clients the same, higher rates that large corporate clients are offered.


Small businesses aren’t the only companies that made the board this week. Here are some of the hardest-hitting statistics from the world of conglomerates:


5 Billion: The number of individuals affected by software bugs in 2015, according to a new report by Tricentis. The company’s findings, outlined in its “Software Fail Watch: 2015 in Review” report, said that software bugs can affect any and all enterprises, but digital enterprises are particularly vulnerable. In addition to the number of people impacted by these corporate software bugs, researchers found that nearly $430 billion in corporate assets were also affected by these threats. Tricentis said the research uncovers just how important it is for businesses to test their software.

52: The percentage of businesses surveyed for the “2016 AFP Risk Survey” that admitted they are faced with earnings uncertainty more than they were three years ago. The drivers behind this anxiety include commodity price fluctuations, interest rate and foreign exchange rate risk and other factors. The same portion of businesses surveyed also said that financial forecasting will likely become more difficult than it was three years ago — just 15 percent said it would become easier.

20: The percentage of corporations surveyed by Deloitte that said their businesses are prepared to manage and integrate an expected influx of innovation acquisition. The research offers additional insight on top of MYOB’s analysis, with Deloitte finding that while the majority of respondents said they anticipate purchasing innovation in 2016 and 2017, their corporate development teams are not necessarily ready to handle that expansion. Still, most businesses said they are working to build a perception as an acquirer, instead of as a target for acquisition, in an effort to build up their sourcing pipelines, researchers said.


So, as it turns out, large corporations are facing cybersecurity risks and challenges to adopt innovation just as SMEs are. Size, it seems, doesn’t always matter.


New PYMNTS Study: Subscription Commerce Conversion Index – July 2020 

Staying home 24/7 has consumers turning to subscription services for both entertainment and their day-to-day needs. While that’s a great opportunity for providers, it also presents a challenge — 27.4 million consumers are looking to cancel their subscriptions because of friction and cost concerns. In the latest Subscription Commerce Conversion Index, PYMNTS reveals the five key features that can help companies keep subscribers loyal despite today’s challenging economic times.