National Survey Indicates Six in Ten U.S. Businesses Struggling with Working Capital Challenges, a Five-Year High

LOS ANGELES--()--More small and medium-sized U.S. businesses report working capital challenges in the last three months than during any other period in the last five years, according to new results from the second quarter 2017 Private Capital Access (PCA) Index report from Dun & Bradstreet and Pepperdine Graziadio School of Business and Management.

“Business owners can generally handle a one-off rate hike, but the fact that the Fed is acknowledging the very real possibility of four additional increases in the next year and a half, on top of three in the last seven months, is causing greater uncertainty about future ability to expand.”

The Q2 PCA Index results show that 66 percent of businesses that were surveyed reported working capital as the reason for seeking financing in the last quarter, an all-time high for the survey since its origination in 2012 and up 22 percent from Q2 2016 (54 percent).

Women-owned and minority-owned businesses are feeling the effects of a working capital crunch more acutely, the latest survey has also found. Both women-owned (72 percent) and minority-owned (80 percent) respondents cited working capital challenges as the lead reason for seeking capital last quarter.

Twenty-two percent (22%) of small (<$5 Million in revenue) and medium-sized ($5 Million – $100 Million in revenue) businesses reported that their accounts receivables payments have slowed over the past three months. This has impacted surveyed small businesses’ ability to grow at a much higher rate than their medium-sized counterparts (42 percent vs. 24 percent). Slower accounts receivable payments disproportionately impacted women- and minority-owned businesses, with 47 percent of women-owned and 44 percent of minority-owned businesses reporting that their ability to grow was impeded.

“While access to capital for small businesses has steadily increased since the Great Recession, these businesses are still feeling the effects of being the last paid on the totem pole,” said Bodhi Ganguli, lead economist at Dun & Bradstreet. “While it’s great that banks and alternative lenders are lending at more accessible rates, the capital issues businesses are facing are unfortunately coming from the slowed payments from their business partners. As the Federal Reserve continues to raise the interest rate and the cost of borrowing increases, small businesses will likely feel this crunch more and more.”

Capital More Accessible, But Small Businesses Weary of Interest Rate Hikes, Wary of Future Increases

Despite the working capital crunch, demand for and access to capital is slightly up for both small and medium-sized businesses year-over-year. Small companies fared better this quarter than medium-sized companies, as both demand (up 7.5 percent) and access (up 1.4 percent) were higher for small than medium-sized business demand (6.4 percent) and access (2.8 percent) over Q1 2017.

Businesses continued to register concern about the impact of interest rate hikes. In mid-June, the Federal Reserve instituted the second interest rate hike of 2017, and signaled it would likely institute one more increase in the remainder of 2017 and up to three increases in 2018. Twenty-percent of small businesses had expected the second hike to challenge their ability to access capital, compared to just 7 percent of their medium-sized counterparts. Seventeen percent of small businesses and 28 percent of medium-sized businesses believe increases impact their ability to expand to new markets.

“What we’re seeing is that while small and medium-sized businesses are still able to access capital, they’re realistic about the possibility that interest rate hikes may result in tighter margins and impact their ability to obtain financing in the future,” said Dr. Craig R. Everett, director of the Pepperdine Private Capital Markets Project. “Business owners can generally handle a one-off rate hike, but the fact that the Fed is acknowledging the very real possibility of four additional increases in the next year and a half, on top of three in the last seven months, is causing greater uncertainty about future ability to expand.”

Despite the effects of the looming hike, lower middle market business revenue change expectations are up 2.9 percent over Q1 2016. Eight out of every ten businesses expect to perform better this year than last year, a near 30 percent increase since 2016. Surveyed businesses are also planning to raise financing in the next six months, up 33.3 percent since one year ago. This projection is the second highest in five years.

The PCA Index is a quarterly indicator produced by the Graziadio School of Business and Management at Pepperdine University with the support of Dun & Bradstreet. The Q2 2017 Index report was derived from 1,167 completed responses collected April 26 – May 3, 2017.

Download the latest index data here and follow us on Twitter at @GraziadioSchool, @DnBb2b, @DnBUS and @AccesstoCapital.

About Dun & Bradstreet

Dun & Bradstreet (DNB) grows the most valuable relationships in business. By uncovering truth and meaning from data, we connect customers with the prospects, suppliers, clients and partners that matter most, and have since 1841. Nearly ninety percent of the Fortune 500, and companies of every size around the world, rely on our data, insights and analytics. For more about Dun & Bradstreet, visit DNB.com. Twitter:@DnBUS

About Pepperdine Graziadio School of Business and Management

Anchored in the core values of integrity and innovation, the Pepperdine Graziadio School of Business and Management challenges individuals to think boldly and drive meaningful change that positively impacts their organizations and communities. With an entrepreneurial spirit, the Graziadio School advances experiential learning in small classes that deepen connections and stimulate critical thinking. Through our wide continuum of MBA, MS and Executive degree programs offered across six California campuses, Graziadio faculty inspire full time students and working professionals to realize their greatest potential as values-centered, “best for the world” leaders. Follow Pepperdine Graziadio on Facebook, Twitter at @GraziadioSchool, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

Contacts

Pepperdine Graziadio School of Business and Management
Lisa Perry, 310-568-2314
lisa.perry@pepperdine.edu
or
Dun & Bradstreet
Lauren Simpson, 310-919-2230

Recent Stories

RSS feed for Pepperdine Graziadio School of Business and Management

Release Summary

National Survey Indicates Six in Ten U.S. Businesses Struggling with Working Capital Challenges, a Five-Year High

Pepperdine Graziadio School of Business and Management