Published: 11:15, 05 May 2020
| Updated: 11:18, 05 May 2020
The next 12 weeks will be "critical" for small and medium-sized firms across the county, a survey has revealed, as companies struggle to survive in the face of the lockdown.
According to a survey by accountants and business advisors Kreston Reeves, 56% have less than 12 weeks' cash in the bank.
And almost three in 10 (28%) have seen turnover plunge by more than 70% since the restrictions were put in place.
The firm, which has offices in Canterbury and Chatham, polled 221 SMEs in Kent and Sussex as part of the Association of Practising Accountants.
Key findings from the local results revealed 39% have seen turnover fall by more than 50% while 33% don't have enough cash in the bank to survive the next eight weeks if restrictions remained in place.
A majority (63%) have used the government’s Job Retention Scheme, which has allowed them to furlough staff. Some 85% regard it as critical to their ability to keep staff on.
The survey also found that just 20% of businesses have applied for funding under the government Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme - although 84% reported the scheme needed to work better.
Andrew Tate, partner and head of restructuring at Kreston Reeves, said: “These figures underpin just how grave the situation is for many owner-managed businesses across the UK right now.
"Given how challenging the next few weeks are likely to be, the government needs to direct the right resource where it is most needed.
"Our research suggests furloughing has been critical for the survival of many businesses and their staff and is working well.
"However, there remain real challenges with the various government backed loan schemes on offer with many of our clients reporting confusion over assessment criteria or unacceptable delays from participating lenders.”
The research was carried out between April 14 and 30.