Simply Business - Insurance for your business

Call Us0333 0146 683
Our opening hours
Knowledge centre

Two thirds of all UK businesses have written off bad debts

1-minute read

Two thirds of all UK businesses have written off bad debts
Anna Delves

Anna Delves

25 August 2016

A new survey by Company Check has found that 68 per cent of all businesses in the UK have had to write off bad debt, but only a third have insured themselves against it.

1.4 million businesses suffering

After reviewing the figures, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) confirmed that this could mean as many as 2.8 million companies have found themselves exposed to this financial difficulty and over 1.4 million were not protected against the subsequent loss.

  • Small business debt collection - DIY methods vs professional services

UK Business culture to blame?

The development manager for the FSB thinks that these financial risks could stem from a cultural problem within UK business. According to her, small firms lack the confidence to charge interest and complain about late payments

“The fear among the smallest companies, particularly when dealing with larger firms, is that complaining about a late payment could result in lost future work which will harm cash-flow for their business.” She said when commenting on the survey.

Unpaid debt can sink small companies

Chloe Webber, the operations director for Company Check, thinks the problem isn’t fear but a naive attitude to financial risk “half of all the companies we spoke to believed their business was entirely free from financial risk.” She said.

However, the reality is rather different. “The consequences of being uninsured and then suffering from a bad debt can be severe.” she continued. “For many small businesses, prompt payment from their customers can be the difference between prosperity and failure.”

Is fear to blame? Naivety? Something else entirely? Sound off in the comments section below to have your say

Ready to set up your cover?

As one of the UK's biggest business insurance providers, we specialise in public liability insurance and protect more trades than anybody else. Why not take a look now and build a quick, tailored quote?

Start your quote

We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Read our full disclaimer

Find this article useful? Spread the word.


People also liked

26 June 20095-minute read

Debt collection for small businesses

Debt collection has rarely been as important for small businesses as it is today. As an increasing number of customers and clients default…

Read more

Keep up to date with Simply Business. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter and follow us on social media.

Subscribe to our newsletter


Popular articlesBusiness resources from FarillioGeneral businessGuestInsuranceLandlordLandlord resources from FarillioLegal and financeMarketingNewsOpinionProperty maintenanceTradesmanCovid-19 business support hub


6th Floor99 Gresham StreetLondonEC2V 7NG

Sol House29 St Katherine's StreetNorthamptonNN1 2QZ

© Copyright 2021 Simply Business. All Rights Reserved. Simply Business is a trading name of Xbridge Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Financial Services Registration No: 313348). Xbridge Limited (No: 3967717) has its registered office at 6th Floor, 99 Gresham Street, London, EC2V 7NG.