Debtors put State’s small businesses under stress

The West Australian, 26 May 2017

More than half of WA’s small businesses experience late payments from larger companies for products and services, according to a survey.

One in five small businesses faces payment delays of a month or more, hurting the sector’s vitality and growth prospects, the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre survey found.

BCEC director and report author Prof Alan Duncan said cashflow was identified as a significant challenge for small businesses.

“Late payment is a huge problem for small business owners in WA, and adds significantly to the financial stresses they face on a daily basis in maintaining and growing their business,” he said.

Report co-author and BCEC senior research fellow Daniel Kiely said the survey also found more than 60 per cent of small business owners reported high to very high stress.

“Financial stress, including the unpredictability of income and cashflow problems, is the top driver of business stress, with one in four businesses reporting very high stress levels,” Dr Kiely said. “It’s important that small business owners have access to adequate support and that external drivers of business-related stress are minimised.”

Prof Duncan said the small business sector accounted for 41 per cent of WA employment and contributed almost $40 billion to the State’s economy.