SMEs still mixing business and personal finances

Owners of small- and medium-sized businesses are “blurring the lines” between their personal and business finances, which is impacting their wellbeing, a report from Suncorp Bank has found.

According to the Suncorp SME vs Me report, more than half of business owners believe it’s important to keep personal and business finances separate, but around a third admit to using their own funds to prop up their business.

Suncorps CEO for customer platforms, Gary Dransfield, says that the “blurring of the lines” could be putting business owners at risk – particularly as just 16 per cent of respondents in the first three years of business are “confident” about their 12-month goals, with a quarter saying they haven’t been paid in the last year.

Mr Dransfield said: “Despite more than half of SMEs admitting it’s important to keep personal and business finances separate, our findings highlight many SMEs prioritise their business over their personal wealth and wellbeing,” Mr Dransfield says.

“More than two-thirds of owners have experienced personal challenges including fatigue, financial stress, loss of motivation or relationship strain because of work-related matters,” he notes.

The report also found that only one in five SMEs make personal superannuation contributions and that the pressures of owning a business are reflected in business owners’ satisfaction with their work/life balance, with just a third saying they are happy with it.

Mr Dransfield says, however, that while many new businesses don’t expect to meet their 12-month goals (84 per cent), a third were confident in reaching their five-year goals.

He suggests that the using advisers could benefit SMEs in achieving their goals, as well as ensure business owners look after themselves too.

Mr Dransfield says: “These insights reinforce the need for small businesses to make time to prioritise their wellbeing and life outside their business.

“Time is so valuable to small business owners, yet it’s the one thing they rarely have enough of. There are many solutions available – digital software programs, business dashboards, business advisers, accountants – which can remove operational complexities and alleviate some time pressures.”

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