In an effort to better understand the behaviors, attitudes and cash flow challenges experienced by small businesses and self-employed professionals around the world, Intuit QuickBooks released the “The State of Small Business Cash Flow” Report.
State of Small Business Cash Flow
Survey Fact Sheet
Cash flow is the lifeblood of success - small businesses and self-employed workers must constantly
be aware of their cash flow status. And while money is the fuel that runs their business and next
decision, it is also the reason they go out of business, it’s the thing they lose sleep over. To better
understand the struggles small businesses and the self-employed face when it comes to cash
flow, how it impacts them and their attitudes, Intuit conducted a study with Wakefield Research,
surveying 3,000 small business owners of companies with 0-100 employees in the U.S., UK,
Australia, Canada and India.
The State of Small Business Cash Flow
• 69% of small business owners have been kept up at night by concerns about cash flow.
• On average, U.S. small business owners have lost $43,394 by foregoing a project or sales
specifically due to issues created by insufficient cash flow.
• More than half (52%) of U.S. small business owners’ companies have lost $10,000 or more
by foregoing a project or sales specifically due to issues created by insufficient cash flow.
• Among those who reported issues, more than 2 in 5 (42%) of small business owners’
companies have experienced cash flow issues in the last year.
• 61% of small businesses regularly struggle with cash flow.
• Among those small business owners who have had cash flow issues, nearly a third (32%)
have been unable to either pay vendors, pay loans, or pay themselves or employees.
• A third (33%) of U.S. small business owners estimate their company currently has more than
$20,000 in outstanding receivables.
• U.S. small businesses average $53,399 in outstanding receivables.
What’s Driving Cash Flow Problems for the
Self-Employed and Small Businesses
• More than half (53%) of small business companies invoice - billing customers for
goods/services on a specific date, compared to 47% that utilize advanced payment - charging
customers for goods/services before, or at the time of receiving them.
• Nearly two thirds (66%) of small business owners report that the time it takes the money to
process after receiving a payment has the largest impact on their company’s cash flow, compared
to not getting paid by customers or clients within the terms of the payment system (34%).
• Nearly a third (31%) of small business owners estimate it takes more than 30 days to get
paid, for example, by customers, clients, vendors or banks. The average wait is 29 days.
• Among those who have had cash flow issues, more than 2 in 5 (43%) of small business owners
frequently have been at risk of not being able to pay their employees by payday.
• Nearly a third (32%) of small business owners have paid their employees late when at risk of
not being able to pay their employees by payday.
• More than 3 in 4 (77%) of small business owners who aren’t self-employed agree paying
employees same-day would help their company manage cash flow more accurately.
• More than 3 in 5 (61%) U.S. small business owners have applied for a loan for their business.
• U.S. small business owners who work for themselves (71%) are more likely than those with 1-49
employees (39%) and those with 50+ employees (27%) to have never applied for a loan for
• Nearly 3 in 5 (55%) U.S. small business owners have not applied for a loan for their business
because they didn’t think they would need it.
• Other reasons for not seeking a loan are interest rates were too high (29%), they didn’t
want to make payments (23%) and they didn’t think they would be approved (19%).