Cash is the Biggest Hurdle to Northern Ireland Business Growth

December 7th, 2020

Cash is the Biggest Hurdle to Northern Ireland Business Growth

Two Belfast based professional services firms have teamed up to offer businesses rapid access to working capital underpinned by credit insurance protection.

Upstream, an innovative finance company, which has been supporting SMEs and larger companies for nine years has launched the new collaboration with leading Credit Insurance broker, Willis Towers Watson.

Upstream Founder and Managing Director Judith Totten MBE said many businesses across Northern Ireland were currently constrained from growth thanks to a double whammy of tightening lending criteria being imposed by traditional lending institutions and a slowing down in payment terms from their customers.

“We have all endured months of uncertainty and challenge, but as ever, the Northern Ireland population has proven its resilience and determination to ‘batten down the hatches’ and get through to the other side.

“Two things throughout this whole period have not changed though – the need for cash and the need for happy, safe and motivated teams.

“Whether cash-flow has been supported by the helpful government interventions, business reserves or personal savings, everyone has kept going, but now as we see the landscape changing, with the various schemes coming to a conclusion, we need to start actively planning for 2021 and determine how we recover and rebuild our vibrant economy.

“Surprisingly, in Upstream, we have transacted some of our largest ever deals during this last six months, and the key takeaway from every transaction was the importance of cash. Whether unlocking the supply chain, or stock value with our Trade Finance offerings or releasing cash tied up in the debtor book, through our Invoice Finance suite, the laser focus of business owners and advisers alike on these areas was remarkable.

“As business owners, we can make all the plans we like but if we do not generate real cash, we cannot repay facilities, we cannot pay our staff and critically, we cannot grow the economy.

“This new partnership with Willis Towers Watson means companies from SMEs to larger corporations now have the opportunity to access working capital quickly – and have the peace of mind that they have their customer invoices protected.”

Nigel Birney, Head of Trade Credit Northern Ireland for Willis Towers Watson said:

“The unprecedented levels of uncertainty in the domestic and global economies has made managing trade credit risk an incredibly difficult task. What is certain is that over the coming months and medium term is that companies will find it harder to get paid. it will take longer, and they will not get paid at all if their customer fails.

“Trade credit insurance removes payment uncertainty on their existing business and as companies adapt to new opportunities and strategies, as well as reacting to the ongoing Covid and Brexit dynamics, it will help them target new customers and markets safe in the knowledge that these new credit risks will be covered and where their customer has defaulted In payment, they will be paid by the insurer.

“Earlier this year, as one of the support mechanisms for UK businesses, the Government announced a £10bn guarantee for the trade credit insurance industry as they view the availability and accessibility of trade credit insurance as being pivotal to the re-invigoration of our regional economies. In effect they are subsidising credit insurance in the short term, and it is right to take advantage of it.”

To discuss opportunities in any of these areas, please get in touch with one of our partners.

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