Nearly two thirds of Northern businesses have less than 12 weeks cash in the bank, a recent survey has revealed.

The Association of Practising Accountants, which includes firms such as Cumbrian accountants Armstrong Watson, spoke to 1,024 owner-managed businesses across the UK.

Association members surveyed their clients on the current impact of coronavirus and how important government support schemes continue to be for their survival.

Businesses were also asked about cash availability and the survey found that 63 per cent of Northern businesses do not have enough money to see them beyond three months.

Other key findings included:

  • 37 per cent of respondents have seen turnover reduce by over 70 per cent since lockdown measures were introduced;
  • More than half of Northern businesses are using the Government’s Job Retention Scheme, of which nearly 90 per cent view as critical to maintaining staff;
  • Only 13 per cent have applied for the Government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and of those who have, 73 per cent suggested that it could work better.

Paul Dickson, chief executive and managing partner of Armstrong Watson, said: “This is a very worrying time for business owners throughout our regions and across a huge diversity of sectors too. While the Government has put in place a number of welcomed schemes to support owner-managed businesses over the initial period, mid-term and longer term the picture is going to be sadly much graver for some as we all adapt to a ‘new normal.’

“Our message to clients is to look beyond what’s happening now, carefully assess your business position over the coming months as we gradually move out of lockdown.

"Coming to terms with a potential new reality will be difficult but preparing for it is essential, whether that means utilising alternative funding, considering restructuring or optimising tax liabilities, these are just some of the many options businesses could take to aid survival.”

Armstrong Watson is hosting a free webinar with cash flow experts on April 30. To register, visit