Friday, 30 March 2012 10:26
SMEs also saw a reduction in average customer numbers between Q3 and Q4 2011.
Small business turnover decreased by 3 per cent between Q3 and Q4 2011 according to The Cashflow Barometer, a quarterly report from ABN AMRO Commercial Finance. Small businesses also saw a reduction in average customer numbers in the same period, falling by 7 per cent.
This slight contraction in performance comes despite an overall year on year (YoY) growth of 3 per cent between 2010 and 2011.
Peter Ewen, Managing Director of ABN AMRO Commercial Finance, says: "This dip in Q4 mirrors a lot of the economic statistics we are seeing at the moment. Things haven’t improved as much as we hoped and businesses will need to fight hard to get back on track in the first half of 2012."
The fourth quarter also showed slight decreases in performance in manufacturing, services and engineering sectors. Turnover in manufacturing and engineering firms decreased by 4 per cent and 1 per cent respectively while turnover for services firms contracted by 3 per cent.
Similarly, recruitment turnover dipped by 3 per cent in the same period following an increase of 11 per cent between Q2 and Q3. The average number of customers per company also fell by 8 per cent in engineering and 2 per cent in manufacturing.
Despite increases between Q2 and Q3 2011 of 8 per cent and 7 per cent, the number of customers of services and recruitment companies contracted again by 9 per cent and 5 per cent respectively between Q3 and Q4 2011.
Despite a contraction in domestic turnover, small businesses are seeing significant export growth with YoY turnover up by 83% to the end of 2011. While export turnover dipped by 4% in the fourth quarter this followed increase of 42 per cent between Q2 and Q3.
Average invoice payment times have also improved, falling by 2% YoY from 64 in 2010 to 62 in 2011.
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