A V-shaped recovery for SMEs? – Covid-19 lock-down business news update 27 May 2020.

27 May 2020.

James Salmon, Operations Director.

Bank of England Chief Economist Andy Haldane is predicting a V-shaped recovery for the UK economy – and while British SMEs are already showing signs of optimism for the next twelve months, most expect the effects of coronavirus to take two years to dissipate, according to a new study from Barclaycard and YouGov.

Key findings from the Barclaycard and YouGov research include:

  • UK SME revenue predicted to fall by 28 per cent in Q2, with business sentiment plunging 31 points
  • Almost three quarters of SMEs expecting coronavirus to have a significant negative impact for the next three months. However, this drops to 19 per cent who expect significant impact after 12 months, and to just 8 per cent after two years
  • In early signs of growth, Barclaycard Payments data reveals that the number of SME clients actively taking payments has increased by 24 per cent since early April


The Covid-19 lock-down continues and we are having to make do in a new normal.

Here are CPA we want to  share the business news stories we have seen that we think will affect our members and readers. Many of us are busy fighting to protect our businesses and therefore might have missed some of the news that could impact small businesses, their owners and those that sell on credit.

Despite negative short-term outlook, UK SMEs begin road to recovery


  • UK SME revenue predicted to fall by 28 per cent in Q2, with almost three quarters of SMEs expecting coronavirus to have a significant impact for the next three months
  • However, this drops to 19 per cent who expect significant impact after 12 months, and to just 8 per cent after two years
  • In early signs of growth, Barclaycard Payments data reveals that the number of SME clients actively taking payments has increased by 24 per cent since early April
  • Almost two-thirds of SMEs say they are planning to invest in their business over the next 12 months

Barclaycard Payments’ second SME Barometer found that, despite UK businesses predicting poor short-term performance, and reporting a dip in sentiment compared to last quarter, there are early signs that they have begun the road to recovery.


The report found that business sentiment has dropped by 31 points this quarter, down to 79 points out of a possible 200, with any score below 100 indicating a negative sentiment. This is paired with low expectations for business growth, with revenue predicted to fall by 28 per cent in Q2 and contract by 5.1 per cent over the next 12 months.


More than four in five (82 per cent) SMEs say coronavirus has already had a negative impact on their business and nearly three quarters (73 per cent) forecast coronavirus to continue to have a significant negative impact for the next three months.


However, many businesses remain positive about the future. Only one in five (19 per cent) think the virus will still have a significant impact after 12 months, and just 8 per cent feel it will still have a significant negative impact in two years’ time, with 70 per cent expecting a slight or no noticeable impact.


There are also early signs of growth in the short term, with Barclaycard Payments data revealing that the number of SME clients actively taking payments, both online and offline, has increased by 24 per cent since the low point in early April, shortly after the start of lockdown.


Demonstrating a determination to succeed, almost two-thirds (64 per cent) of SMEs say they are planning to invest in their business over the next 12 months. Their top areas of focus will be marketing (26 per cent) and new equipment and technology (20 per cent).


Konrad Kelling, Head of Small Business Acquiring, Barclaycard Payments, said,

“It’s encouraging to see small and medium-sized businesses starting to come online again after the start of lockdown, and while we don’t expect an overnight recovery, the resilience and perseverance of small businesses gives us hope as we look towards a more optimistic view in the next 12 to 24 months.”


“However, it’s not surprising to see that small businesses are feeling challenged by their prospects for this quarter. With disrupted supply chains, difficulty reaching customers and entirely new ways of working, we understand SMEs are worried – and we are here to provide as much support as possible to help them get through these tough times.”


Business impact: size matters


Micro, small and medium-sized businesses are feeling the impacts of coronavirus differently. Micro businesses have been the hardest hit by the virus downturn, expecting revenue to drop by 30.01 per cent in Q2 compared to last quarter and reporting a sentiment score of 75, down 34 points from last quarter. Meanwhile, small businesses stand at a sentiment score of 88 and medium-sized businesses at 87.


Moreover, the way in which businesses have been affected also varies depending on size. Micro businesses are most likely to say they are struggling to raise finance, with one-third (33 per cent) struggling to do so, compared to 18 per cent of medium businesses and 19 per cent of small businesses.


Medium-sized businesses, meanwhile, are most likely to say they’ve had to reduce staff hours or lay off staff (64 per cent), compared to a national average of 47 per cent. They were also most likely to report a drop in staff productivity – 41 per cent report this problem compared to a national average of just over a quarter (26 per cent). Small businesses were more likely to report disruptions to supply chains, at 47 per cent over a national average of 37 per cent.


Emma Jones, Founder of Enterprise Nation, says, “We’ve seen a 200 per cent increase in traffic to our website since the crisis began. Initially, businesses were searching for help to access financial support. Since then, we’ve seen a gentle shift as businesses start to look beyond the three-month horizon and have started to ask for advice on how to pivot, access their customers in new ways and increase their skills for when we can get back to business.


“We are also seeing evidence that they are using this time to plan and absorb advice that they may not otherwise have had the ability to do in normal circumstances. Despite low levels of short-term optimism, it’s also good to see that founders are expecting to see a more positive future over the next two years.”


Covid-19 general news

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be questioned by senior members of Parliament over the covid-19 crisis on Wednesday as calls for his key adviser to resign continue to grow

Across Europe countries are continuing to lift lock-down measures as infection and death rates decline, with Spain allowing residents of Madrid and Barcelona to meet socially as well as patronise non-essential shops and café terraces.

While the hunt for a vaccine is stoking U.S.-China tensions, the U.K. has cleared the use of Gilead Sciences Inc.’s remdesivir as a treatment for Covid-19 patients and Merck & Co. in the US has also unveiled plans for two pills to treat the virus plus a vaccine candidate.

The Chinese city of Wuhan, where covid-19 first emerged, finished testing 6.5 million people in ten days (in a city of 11 million) following fears of a second wave.

Twitter made President Donald Trump the less-than-proud recipient of its first fact-check warning.

Total virus deaths topped 350,000 globally.



The FTSE started brightly yesterday after the bank holiday and played catch up with the rally in Europe on Monday, during the day it hit 6130 before ending the day at 6067 (up 74).

European stocks picked up where they left off on Monday with the German index climbing 0.9% and France 1.5%.

US markets were up yesterday too as positive news on a vaccine and a lifting of restrictions helped investors overlook the heated words between the US and China.

Asian stocks were also mostly higher following a mixed start, with Japanese equities lifted by reports of a new $1 trillion stimulus package.

Oil climbed on continued reduced supply and increase in demand. Gold fell as the economic recovery moved investors away from the safe haven.

The USA is reportedly considering a range of sanctions on Chinese officials, businesses and financial institutions over their crackdown on Hong Kong. Donald Trump has also said that Hong Kong will lose its place as Asia’s financial hub if the measures from Beijing are pushed through. Xi Jinping urged military officers to boost readiness for armed combat.

The EU Commission – its excutive arm – has proposed a 750 billion euro Fiscal Stimulus Package to be granted in the form of grants to member states.

Environmental jobs

The UK could create 850,000 new green energy jobs this decade if it uses recovery stimulus to fast-track de-carbonization, the IPPR environmental justice committee has said. At least 30 billion pounds a year of extra funding is needed for the country to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, according to the report.


The European Union is said to be willing to move on its postion regarding fishing in talks with the UK next week in what would mark a significant breakthrough in post-Brexit trade negotiations. Fishing has proved a major stumbling block in Brexit talks, with the UK pushing back against Brussels’ demands for access to British waters to be maintained.


UK Retail Footfall jumped over the weekend compared to the Easter bank holiday as shoppers took advantage of the weather and the eased lockdown restrictions. High street footfall surged 49% yesterday compared to Easter Monday, while coastal towns saw visitor numbers jump 62%.

UK Online Grocery Sales have jumped to record levels following two months of the covid-19 lock-down. Online sales accounted for 13 per cent of UK grocery spend in the four weeks to 16th May, a total of £1.2 billion in sales.

This is up from 7% at the same time last year and 10 per cent share recorded just four weeks previously, according to data released today by Nielsen.

UK retailers report cashflow difficulties

Eight out of 10 British retailers however reported cash flow difficulties, down modestly after a nightmarish April, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said.

Its monthly measurement of retail sales rose to -50 from in May, still a historically weak reading but up from a joint record low of -55 in April, as expected in a poll of economists.

“The retail sector is at the sharp end of a crisis, with many businesses up against it,” CBI chief economist Rain Newton-Smith said.

Retailers might need more support from the government if demand falters as outlets reopen in the coming weeks, she added.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday that Britain will reopen thousands of high street shops, department stores and shopping centres next month.

Retail sales fell by the most on record in April, according to official data last week, as much of the sector was shuttered by the government’s covid-19 lockdown.

Supply chain disruptions worsened over the past month, the CBI survey showed, with a majority of retailers reporting shortages of some goods and increased cost pressures.


UK House-Hunter Demand jumped 88% across England as the market reopened earlier this month, according to a property website. Zoopla said the weekly increase occurred between May 12, the day it emerged the market in England would reopen, and May 19.


Don’t let Covid-19 bust your business!

 It will if your cash flow dries up, either sooner or later.

The Credit Protection Association (CPA) has been assisting thousands of UK businesses to get paid since 1914. We have seen many financial crises, this one will be particularly deadly for suppliers for sometime to come.

CPA eases cash from tardy debtors – Efficiently, Effectively, Economically and Ethically. Above all tactfully, because maintenance of goodwill is paramount.

To meet the needs of creditors in the current crisis, we have designed a “critical care” package especially tailored for the situation.

  • The annual package costs start at very low rates
  • A minimum performance warranty is provided
  • Several complimentary services included

Clients instruct CPA on-line via their PC or phone, completely user-friendly. Your late paying customers are told to pay you direct (not to us).

A very recent report shows a 23% increase in the number of unpaid invoices since March 11th THIS YEAR – are you getting a build-up of late payers?

 Right now, overdue accounts must be a concern and CPA has a great track record of encouraging slow-payers to pay their suppliers quickly.

It takes less than 17 minutes to see how you would benefit, do you have the time now?

No face-to-face meeting required – just call Peter Uwins, CPA’s National Sales Manager, on 020 8846 0000 (business hours) or email nsm@cpa.co.uk today.

When you see your money come in, you will be so glad you used CPA.

Do you sell on credit?

With pressures on the cash flow it is essential that you stay on top of the credit limits you grant customers and watch carefully for any late payments.

Those customers will look for the easiest option  to boost their cash-flow. Don’t let it be you.

You can’t just assume your customers can and will pay you eventually, no matter how big their name is.

It is essential to have credit management systems in place to monitor and check your customers credit worthiness.

It is also best practice to use a trusted third party like CPA to make sure you are paid on time by customers, no matter how good a name they have.

About CPA

The Credit Protection Association can help!

Formed in 1914, CPA has been providing credit management services to SMEs for over 100 years.

At the Credit Protection Association, we provide first class credit information that can help you avoid being over extended to customers who are at risk. Our monitoring service can flag up warning signs long before the end, giving you the chance to adjust and reduce your exposure. We provide recommended credit limits and credit scores on a traffic light system and can help you set appropriate credit policies for your customers.

We regularly publish lists of the latest insolvencies but by then it is too late. Our credit reports however predict approximately 96% of company insolvencies long before they arrive.

Companies in trouble usually have very bad cash flow and they try to deal with it by delaying payment to their suppliers, increasing your exposure to them.

If you supply on credit, help us help you identify the risks.

Why use a third party collector?

As a third party collector, we can also get your payments prioritised over those who are not as hot on collections. When your customer receives a letter from the Credit Protection Association regarding their outstanding account, they are going to want to get that resolved as a priority. Our overdue account recovery service can get your unpaid invoices to the top of their “to do” list and get your invoice paid.

Over the years we have collected billions in overdue invoices for our customers.

Our debt recovery and credit management services give our members the financial freedom needed to grow and prosper, while our new Late Payment Compensation department could unlock hidden potential and offer the compensation needed to springboard your business to success.

You might be hesitant about contacting a debt collection agency. What are they going to be like?

Can they help your particular type of business?

There is no need for concern. CPA are courteous, helpful and very probably have had direct experience of working with your type of business.

Debt collection agencies are not all alike.

Success lies in both recovering money and keeping customers happy. The Credit Protection Association was founded in 1914 and  has helped tens of thousands of UK businesses to collect outstanding payments and reduce the risk of incurring bad debt. We believe that creditors deserve to be paid for the work or goods they have supplied but we fully understand the need to maintain
the best possible relationship with customers!

At The Credit Protection Association, we provide solutions, advice and back-up in all areas relating to the supply of services or goods on account. Client-members receive everything they need from a single source to reduce debtor days and write-offs.

The Credit Protection Association has helped has assisted tens of thousands of UK businesses with their credit control requirements, since the First World War.

We are polite, firm and efficient when it comes to recovering outstanding debt.

“We have used CPA for a number of years now. The website is easy to navigate around with lots of helpful reports. The staff are always at hand and very friendly. CPA has  helped us reduce our debt over the years and keep track of potential issues with our customers.”
~ CPA client in Buckinghamshire

“The service from CPA has proved to be everything that you said it would be. We have already seen a huge benefit. We have had a number of overdue accounts paid promptly and directly to us. It is also a huge weight off our mind to know that once we have passed an overdue payment over to you, you take care of everything whilst keeping us informed.
~ Credit Controller client in Warrington

The Credit Protection Association – Prompting Punctual Payments – Ethical, Effective, Efficient, Economical collections


Ready to speak to an advisor?

For help or advice on credit management, entirely without obligation.

Call us today

0330 053 9263

CPA is passionate about late payment

The Credit Protection Association has been protecting smaller firms against poor payment practices for over 100 years.

We are extremely passionate about breaking the late payment culture that holds back the UK economy and threatens many SMEs with cash flow difficulties being the single biggest killer of Britain’s small businesses.

If you were regularly paid late we can help. Those former customers used you to boost their own cashflow, regularly paying you late.

As a result you had extra costs, you had the distraction of having to chase payment, you had opportunity costs because your capital was tied up in their late invoices.

Under little used legislation, you are entitled to compensation for those late payments.

Now you can boost your own cash-flow.

CPA can help unearth the those hidden treasures.

We have the technology to reveal the compensation you are due and we have the extensive experience and expertise to then turn those claims into cash.

Yes, CPA can help you boost your business cash-flow.

Don’t let your bankers control you, contact CPA today.

The Credit Protection Association – Prompting Punctual Payments – Ethical, Effective, Efficient, Economical collections

Read our blog here on how to crack down on the late payment culture.

Read our blog here on how to give late payers the slap they need.

The “Why” of the late payment culture.

New PM should walk the walk and back small firms over late payments

Paying late is “crack cocaine” to big business.

Late payment culture risks “spiraling out of control”

visit our late payment compensation page

See our full blog and FAQ on late payment compensation

Do you realise you could be sitting on a fortune?

Late payments often result in a cash flow crunch and leave SMEs in need of a cash injection.

If you sold B2B on credit then there may be a hidden source of capital you can call on.

If you fancy an bit of extra cash in your business, rather than jumping through hoops with your bank, you could look to uncover the resources from an unexpected source within your own business.

Not many are aware but there could be a hidden fortune within your business, sitting there, just waiting to be uncovered and released.

We can help you uncover the pile of gold, you didn’t even know you were sitting on.

If you trade with other businesses and were often paid late then you could be entitled to significant compensation.

Under little known and under-utilised legislation your business could be due huge amounts in compensation that you didn’t even know about.

Let’s be clear – this is not a way to weaken any customer relationships you value. It is one that identifies who’s been paying late and then recover the potentially significant sums in compensation using Late Payment Legislation from businesses where the relationship has already ended.

You can pick and choose who you want us to follow up – but once we’ve agreed which companies you’d like to pursue compensation from it’s a fast process and there’s no financial outlay to you whatsoever. My team at CPA put its expertise to work to recover the compensation due and fight late payment culture.

That compensation could provide the cash boost your business needed.

But don’t delay, that compensation evaporates if not claimed within six years of the late payment.

How can CPA help?

CPA has developed a unique technology to dig into your accounting records and discover the cash injection you are due by means of compensation. The software does all the hard work. Our software interacts over the cloud with over 300 different software packages, working directly with your accounts package, just so long as it’s stored on a computer.

We recognise that most companies do not have the resources to spend time on the identification and calculation of Late Payment Compensation. Our service can produce an Analyses within just a few days with (usually) less than 30 mins of co-operation from our clients. We work directly with over 300 accounting packages but can also work with bespoke accounts packages. Indeed, speed is essential as the oldest invoices may fall foul of the 6-year time limit.

Once the Sales Ledger Analyses is made available to clients, all that is required is that management decide which commercially sensitive ex-customers to remove from the list and return it to us.

CPA then uses its years of collection experience to explain and recover the Late Payment Compensation Claims. Clients do not handle any part of the recovery process as our team will take all communications from the companies against who the claims has been made. Often, it’s simply a case of explaining the legislation, sometimes we have to go all the way and enforce the legislation through the courts.

The result is that we are realising clients’ claims worth tens and sometimes hundreds of thousands of pounds which, of course, is pure net profit.  You may also be among the recipients of “hundreds of thousands of pounds” should you elect to take advantage of our services.

We do the work, you receive the cash.

If you have supplied goods and services to businesses on credit and were regularly paid late then you could be due significant sums in late payment compensation.

We are talking to companies and unearthing claims in the hundreds of thousands from former business customers who paid them late. Large business customers who abused their power to inflict unfair and sometimes illegal payment practices.

We are helping business owners  who are looking to boost the returns from their business before they retire. We are helping businesses who have lost major clients after years of loyal service to get properly compensated for systematic late payment. We are helping companies that were looking to close down, who looked insolvent and finding that cash injection they need to avoid insolvency.

Those former clients who regularly paid you late can finally be made to pay.

Ready to speak to an advisor?

For help or advice on credit management, entirely without obligation.

Call us today

0330 053 9263

The Credit Protection Association is a credit management company established in 1914. If you supply goods or services on credit then we can help you!

The Credit Protection Association – Prompting Punctual Payments – Ethical, Effective, Efficient, Economical collections

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The Credit Protection Association – Prompting Punctual Payments – Ethical, Effective, Efficient, Economical collections