Working Capital Trends for Small and Medium Businesses


Identify trends in working capital for small- and medium-sized businesses in the U.S., Canada, India and Brazil, for the purposes of informing the development of a potential product. Separate trends by legal, technological, social, and business topics.

Early Findings

Lack of Capital was a Major Challenge for Small Businesses Pre-COVID-19

  • Most publicly available assessments regarding working capital for small- and medium-sized businesses in 2020 are using information from before the outbreak of COVID-19.
  • Prior to the outbreak, the lack of working capital was the most common challenge cited by small-business owners in the United States, with 32 percent of respondents selecting it.
  • Also prior to the outbreak, an increasing number of small businesses were investing more capital into hiring more staff (with 5 percent reporting as such, a number higher than previous years) to offset labor shortage issues.
  • 31 percent of businesses cited a lack of credit availability as a major hindrance for paying operating expenses.

Firms are Advised to Look for Capital as COVID-19 Continues

  • Deloitte is advising businesses globally to seek out possible sources of capital as early as possible as COVID-19 continues.
  • Deloitte advises considering utilizing revolving credit, leases, mergers as some options for increasing working capital.

Available Working Capital is Lower Than Normal and Will Remain So

  • Working capital will be lower for businesses that are impacted by lower demand until the demand shifts.
  • Businesses with lower working capital who are making purchases will likely delay their payments as long as possible to keep as much cash on hand as possible, thus making it more difficult for suppliers who are in needs of immediate funds themselves.
  • Companies that are in the areas most affected by COVID-19 will be most impacted. Currently, the United States, Brazil, and India have all had significant outbreaks of COVID-19, while Canada has not.

In addition to this public search, we scanned our proprietary research database of over one million sources and were unable to find any specific research reports that address your goals.

Summary of Early Findings in Relation to Goals

The first hour of research involved outlining the project to determine if the requested information is available. Most public reports about working capital in 2020 are based on pre-COVID-19 data, are global in nature, or they focus on large companies only. Relevant business-related trend findings from before and after the COVID-19 outbreak were provided above.

Based on our early findings, we can continuing researching trends in working capital for small- and medium- sized businesses, as proposed below. We can also provide additional insights into what business sectors are most in need of working capital for the forseeable future.

Proposed next steps:

You need to be the project owner to select a next step.