Close to half (49%) of Australian small business owners (SBOs) say managing cash flow is the most stressful part of running their business, with 31% losing sleep over the issue, the latest American Express’ Working Capital Research.

The report found that one in five (21%) claim their physical wellbeing has been affected by cash flow tension and 22% report it has put a strain on or broken-down personal relationships. Furthermore, 17% of owners have considered ceasing operations due to cash flow challenges impacting their wellbeing. 

The research examined the factors Australian SBOs say are contributing most significantly towards their stress levels. Alongside customers not paying on time, inflation and the rising costs of living, a lack of knowledge about how to best optimise their working capital strategy were amongst the reported stressors. This is despite 79% of owners stating that managing their businesses’ working capital cycle is an important part of running their business. 

Almost half of SBOs (49%) use personal funds to pay for outgoing expenses and 51% say having access to capital without interest for a longer period would help them pay off suppliers in time and give them more opportunity to invest in their business.

With Australian SBOs naming repayment cycles and cash flow as one of the biggest barriers to sustaining their business and maintaining personal wellbeing, American Express has announced enhancements to the American Express Business Card.

The Card is designed to support small business owners and extend their working capital cycles with a market-leading extended cashflow benefit of up to 110 days to pay for purchases and no pre-set spending limit.  

American Express vice president and general manager of commercial sales and account development, Emily Roberts said, “Running a small business can be incredibly rewarding, but the day-to-day stress of paying suppliers and staff, and finding new opportunities to grow, can take a huge toll on mental health, especially when the unexpected happens. There are things however that owners can do to help alleviate the stress of running a business.

“Getting cash flow in check is one of these. Optimising cash flow puts business owners in a better position to navigate unforeseen circumstances, reinvest in their business, their people, and just as importantly, themselves. Tools such as business charge cards help to increase funds that are available for day-to-day operations and provide extra breathing space to repay.” 

Another tool American Express offers to help businesses with their funding needs, is American Express Business Loans, which offer unsecured working capital of up to $300,000 and repayment terms that range from six to 36 months.   

Through the American Express Foreign Exchange Services, SBOs can make international payments even if they aren’t a Card Member. American Express AccessLine also enables enrolled Card Members to pay virtually any supplier anywhere in the world, even if they don’t accept American Express card payments plus American Express Membership Rewards points can be earned in the process.