Press Release

Global Survey Finds Small and Mid-Sized Enterprises Feel Challenged by Uncertainties, but Remain Optimistic

18 March 2021

Kansas City, USA (18 March 2021) — A new worldwide survey examining the working capital health of more than 6,700 leaders of small and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) found surprising alignment in terms of access to liquidity, the cost of borrowing, and their outlooks for the future.

C2FO’s 2021 Working Capital Survey was conducted across 16 countries in December 2020 and January 2021, focusing entirely on businesses with between 10 and 500 employees. Key findings from the survey include the following:

  • Respondents cited economic instability and uncertainty about customer orders as their biggest challenges — concerns likely fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 economic crisis.
  • An average of 87% of respondents said they have enough liquidity for the next six months.
  • Liquidity costs continue to rise, as 65% of respondents said they pay an APR of more than 8%.
  • Late or extended payment from customers is a growing global concern, as 37% of respondents said late payments from customers had increased in 2020.
  • Despite the challenges of 2020, overall optimism among respondents about their future business prospects was fairly strong — averaging 6.5 on a scale of one to 10.

The purpose of C2FO’s 2021 survey was to measure the economic health and outlooks for SMEs in countries around the world. A full report on the survey’s findings can be viewed here.

“While it’s heartening that many SMEs in this survey have a positive outlook for their immediate future, it is also very clear that more needs to be done to provide these businesses with immediate access to the low-cost liquidity they need to grow,” said Alexander “Sandy” Kemper, C2FO’s founder and CEO. “These kinds of studies are important in calling out the economic challenges that businesses worldwide face every day.”

C2FO conducted global surveys of SMEs in 2016 and 2017, but the 2021 Working Capital Survey is the most thorough and far-reaching, conducted in eight languages across 16 countries and consisting of 26 or more questions about topics like financial health, the cost of borrowing, support from government programs and more.

About C2FO

C2FO is the world’s largest platform for working capital. We serve over one million businesses representing $10.5 trillion in annual sales across more than 180 countries. Our online platform connects more than $110 billion of daily accounts payable and accounts receivable. Whether you need working capital or have excess working capital, Name Your Rate, and the C2FO platform will match your request in seconds. You can accelerate or extend AP or AR on demand, providing you, your customers and your suppliers greater control over cash flow. You can also utilize AR financing and other data-driven funding options.

C2FO is working capital, working for everyone. Our mission is to deliver a future where every company in the world has the capital needed to grow. To learn more, visit

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Dukas Linden Public Relations