Unsure what to search for? Other customers found these helpful.

Debt management

Business debt management

How to spot the warning signs and cope with financial difficulties

How to spot trouble

It is not uncommon for businesses to experience financial difficulty at some point. Many such issues can be resolved relatively easily, but, left unchecked, some can have more serious consequences.

Causes of financial difficulties

Many of the problems affecting business performance fall into at least one of the following categories:

  1. Cash
  2. Profitability
  3. Management

We’ve developed a series of
health checks ’ so you can assess your business’s performance in each of these areas.

Warning signs

Keeping an eye out for early warning signs could help you spot any problems early on. These include:

  • Falling turnover
  • Deteriorating margins
  • Missing targets
  • Overspend against budgets
  • Increased use of overdrafts
  • Regular account excesses
  • Increased stock holding
  • More outstanding debtor payments

Sudden shocks

You can’t predict everything, so it’s a good idea to be aware of the situations that could catch you out. These include:

  • Loss of key staff
  • Emergencies such as flooding or fire
  • Reputational damage

If in doubt – let us know

If you are worried that your business is showing warning signs or has taken an unexpected blow, or even if you are already having financial difficulties, it’s important to let us know – the sooner, the better.

You can do this either through your Relationship Manager or by visiting our contact pages .

So we can give you the right kind of help or advice, it would be useful to have the following information handy when you talk to us:

  • Your current cashflow or budget, and likely future projections
  • Any changes in your or your business’s circumstances
  • Anything else you would like us to consider or think we need to know

Other sources of free advice

Here are the details of independent agencies that can provide you with free, confidential advice if your business hits financial difficulties.

Business Debtline

Provides expert debt advice to the self-employed and small businesses online and over the phone.


National Debtline

Provides impartial personal-debt advice to people across the UK, online and over the phone.


Citizens Advice Bureau

Provides advice on a broad range of topics including personal debt and benefits, face to face, over the phone and online.


Business Gateway (Scotland)

Provides business support services and impartial advice to companies in Scotland.


The Insolvency Service

A government agency that provides services and guidance to businesses experiencing financial distress.


Business Emergency Resilience Group

Supports businesses across the UK to prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies such as flooding, cyber attacks and civil unrest.


Addington Fund

Provides homes for farming families living in England and Wales who have to leave the industry and by doing so will lose their home.


Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution

Provides support for farmers if they are in financial difficulty and of limited means.