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Resources | Market Trends | March 12, 2021

2021 Working Capital Survey: Small to Mid-Sized Businesses Challenged by Uncertainty, but Remain Optimistic

A new C2FO worldwide survey of more than 6,700 leaders of small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) found surprising alignment in terms of access to liquidity, the cost of borrowing, and their outlooks for the future.


A new C2FO worldwide survey of more than 6,700 leaders of small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) found surprising alignment in terms of access to liquidity, the cost of borrowing, and their outlooks for the future. 

Our 2021 Working Capital Survey was conducted across 16 countries in December 2020 and January 2021, focusing entirely on businesses with between 10 and 500 employees. Key findings from the survey include the following:

  • Most respondents cited economic instability and uncertainty about customer orders as their biggest challenges — concerns likely fueled by the economic crisis that followed the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • An average of 87% of respondents said they have enough liquidity for the next six months.
  • The cost of liquidity continues to rise, as 65% of respondents said they pay an APR of more than 8%.
  • Government support played a big role in helping businesses endure the pandemic, as 42% of worldwide survey respondents confirmed they received or had applied for funding from government programs.
  • Late or extended payment from customers was a growing global concern. An average of 37% of respondents said late payments from customers had increased in 2020. 
  • Despite the challenges of 2020, overall optimism among respondents about their future business prospects was fairly strong — averaging 6.5 on a scale of one to 10.

Download the 2021 survey 

Get the 2021 Working Capital Survey Report

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