Low Gearing for SME’s

Gearing - Complete Controller

Gearing is a term widely used in finance. But it can perplex small business owners unfamiliar with it. In finance, gearing refers to the degree to which a company is financed by debt or equity. A highly geared-company has a high proportion of debt relative to equity. At the same time, a lowly geared company has more equity than debt. The gearing ratio is calculated by dividing the company’s debt by equity.

Small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) can benefit from a low gearing ratio. This means they have more equity than debt. A low gearing ratio offers several advantages, including lower financial risk, greater flexibility, and increased control. By financing their operations with more equity than debt, SMEs can reduce their financial risk and avoid the high-interest payments associated with debt financing. Additionally, SMEs with low gearing ratios have more flexibility in their operations. They are not burdened by the strict covenants and obligations that often come with debt financing.

Moreover, statistical evidence supports the argument that low gearing is the best option for SMEs. According to a survey conducted by the National Small Business Association in 2019, only 25% of small businesses used debt financing. At the same time, 75% relied on personal funds, friends and family, or equity financing. The same survey found that 67% of small businesses reported being debt-free, suggesting they prefer to keep their debt levels low.

In conclusion, a low gearing ratio is favorable for SMEs as it reduces financial risk, provides greater flexibility, and offers increased control. Furthermore, the statistical evidence supports the notion that small businesses prefer to keep their debt levels low, further reinforcing the importance of maintaining a low gearing ratio.

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What is Gearing?

As a small business owner, you may be exploring options to raise capital for your business, like taking out a loan or issuing bonds. While these can provide the necessary funds to grow and expand your business, they can also increase your company’s gearing ratio. This ratio measures the level of debt to equity. It can be an important indicator of financial stability. 

Taking on more debt can be risky if your business is already highly geared. It may impact your ability to obtain future financing. It can cause financial strain. Therefore, it’s essential for SMEs to carefully consider the impact of gearing on their business before making any significant financial decisions. This can involve evaluating current debt levels, assessing the potential impact of new debt, and exploring other funding options to maintain a healthy financial position.

Why is Low Gearing Best?

Now, let’s explore why low gearing is the best option for SMEs. When a company has low gearing, it has more equity than debt. It can provide several benefits, including:

  1. Reduced financial risk: More equity than debt makes a company less likely to default on loans or bonds. This can reduce the financial risk associated with borrowing money.
  2. Improved creditworthiness: Lenders and investors view lowly geared companies as less risky and more creditworthy. It can make it easier for SMEs to obtain financing in the future.
  3. Increased flexibility: Lowly-geared companies have more financial flexibility than highly-geared companies. They can better weather economic downturns and adjust their financing strategies more easily as needed.Complete Controller. America’s Bookkeeping Experts

The Statistics

Having grasped the advantages of low gearing for SMEs, let’s delve into supporting statistics. Research by Sageworks reveals that companies with low gearing typically exhibit greater profitability and are less prone to closure.

The study found that the most profitable companies had less than 30% gearing ratios. The companies with the lowest gearing ratios also had the highest survival rates. This suggests that low gearing can increase SMEs’ profitability and sustainability.

A National Bureau of Economic Research study found high-gearing firms invest less in R&D and capital. This limits innovation and long-term growth. Conversely, low-gearing companies invest more, enhancing competitiveness and growth.

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In conclusion, gearing is essential for small business owners to understand. While taking on debt to fund growth and expansion may be tempting, low gearing is the best option for SMEs. It can reduce financial risk, improve creditworthiness, and increase flexibility. Furthermore, statistics show that low-gearing companies tend to be more profitable, sustainable, and innovative. By prioritizing low gearing, SMEs can set themselves up for long-term success.

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