Avid Partners were recently invited onto Bobby Kerr’s “Down to Business Show” Newstalk July 12th to discuss the growing concern of small businesses failing behind on their business loans and the implications for the SME Sector of this growing trend. The full segment can viewed on our homepage at www.avidpartners.ie (just below the E-Book Downloads). Read the full article of the discussion topic below.


One in Four SME’S in Default on their Business Loans! What’s Going On?


The Facts

One in every four loans to Irish small and medium-sized businesses was in default at the end of last year, based on Central Bank’s SME Market Report. The numbers show that:

  • 26 per cent of all loans to the sector were in default, meaning that repayments on these debts were 90 days or more overdue.
  • 41% of loans to SME’s are in arrears. 
  • The smallest and largest loans carry a higher default risk.
  • Among the largest loans, SME default rate is 48 per cent.
  • The default rate increases among the largest 25 per cent of loans.
  • The sectors receiving the most gross new lending over the period 2010-2013 has been agriculture, forestry, fishing, followed by the wholesale and retail trade sectors. 
  • Credit demand remained stable between 35% and 40% at March 2013 to 35% at March 2014.
  • Credit demand is higher for SME firms than Micro firms.
  • At the end of 2013, the average SME owed its bank €71,101 and was paying interest at 6.41 per cent.


Is Your Sector Still Struggling?


The default rate is highest for SMEs in the Construction, Hotels, Restaurants and Personal sectors. Default rates were unsurprisingly highest amongst building companies, who continue to struggle as new builds are at an all-time low. Companies in this sector had fallen behind on more than 60 per cent of the amount that they owe their banks. Sectors also suffering badly were the Hotels and Restaurant sectors. This shows that businesses requiring significant capital investments are more at risk. When it comes to credit the demand for working capital and restructuring purposes is “outstripping” that for investment or growth purposes. Only one-in-four applicants were seeking cash to fund growth and expansion, while 61 per cent cited working capital requirements as the reason for their credit application. This clearly isn’t a positive sign as it highlights the fact that many businesses in struggling sectors are still in survival mode rather than growth orientated. How can a business grow if it is merely surviving?


What Can be Done to Help Struggling Businesses?

While sentiment in the business environment has been improving, reality on the ground is that small businesses are still very much struggling to maintain their financial footing.  paying all of their bills is still a major issue. With 41.4 per cent of the total balance owed by the SME sector overdue, this is clearly demonstrating that financial pain is still being felt despite some positive echoes elsewhere in the economy. Every small business will have their own tales of woe with some issues specific to the individual business, while many others will be common to the sector.


Lack of credit, rejection of credit applications, businesses dissuaded from applying for credit lines, upward only rent arrangements, business services taxes, high costs of employment, lack of SME business supports and high cost of growth are all limiting factors to the sectors. Governmental action on these areas has been slow with many businesses feeling left behind through no fault of their own. Small businesses will argue that they are being squeezed from every angle and don’t know where to turn for support. Do they continue to plow on hoping that something positive will change in the near future or  look for other professional organisations that can  help and support their business?


Avid Partners Working With The SME Sector to Improve Their Businesses


Avid Partners have worked with a range of small businesses in financial distress. In our experience struggling with legacy debt and fluctuating revenues is not uncommon.  Many managers find dealing with such things very stressful and delay positive action as a result. Avid Partners have recent experience in assisting clients in the areas of Cash Flow Management, which stops the financial bleeding, and gives the company time to get back on its feet. Bad Debt problems have also been a problem area for many companies who, through no fault of their own, may have positive weekly sales but little money available to them month to month.


Avid Partners have implemented a number of successful Debt Retrieval programmes to revive clients businesses and get them through back on track. Avid Partners Business Turnaround Programmes focus on identifying:

  • Short Term Cash Flow Problems
  • Implementing Solutions (100 Day Turnaround Plan)
  • Putting structures in place so that such issues are not repeated.


Once the short term stability of the company is achieve we then work proactively with the organisation on Positive Growth Strategies.

  • Expansion Programmes
  • Staff Recruitment
  • Corporate Management
  • Diversification
  • Acquisitions Strategies


These are the directions that small business should be going but can’t as they are stuck in a rut. Sometimes the simple reality is that businesses need some help and support from experts in their field to sort things out.  New drive and energy is what can be required to get back on track. Experience counts for a lot when your businesses survival is at stake!


Contact Avid Partners To See How We Can Help Your Business 

You can call Avid Partners on 0818 303087 or email us at any of the following addresses:


General Services: advice@avidpartners.ie

Business Turnaround or Consultation: jamie@avidpartners.ie

Marketing & Business Consultancy: paul@avidpartners.ie 


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Yes Avid Partners have two divisions of the company. We have an accountancy division that handles your day to day financial necessities and we also have an advisory division to assist companies develop their businesses. This can include consultancy, marketing and guidance when required. We can act as a Chairperson for your organisation if required and can also take away some of the day to day pressures that can restrict growth and slow development. Avid Partners can help with both of the critical aspects of a company, keeping costs down as much as possible and growing revenues exponentially. Technology companies need patience in developing their visions and an involved day to day partner is the best way of keeping a good business balance.
It is a common problem for companies who are in a situation where their business is growing in real terms (users, visitors) but sales is not matching the other growth metrics as traditionally sales lags behind growth (Twitter, Linked In, etc). So what do you do? Every business needs access to finance to pay operating costs which gives the company time to develop future revenue streams. Thankfully the situation is getting better with many tech friendly finance options coming on stream such as micro financing, crowd funding and government agencies are also starting to show support interests.
Every company starts out small with very limited resources at the beginning of the project. The key is to make the most from the resources you have and to seek out alliances, support systems and working partners. Start ups face many challenges including access to capital, regulatory requirements, economies of scale. We can help you develop your concept and will assist in every way possible from accountancy and day to day support to advisory services and raising finance. We can assist in a number of ways and have a portfolio of growing small companies that we help on an on-going basis.

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