HALF of UK small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are terrified of applying for finance as they are baffled by business jargon, research claims.
Asset finance and loan provider LDF claims SMEs are facing a language barrier when it comes to accessing funds, with 48 per cent finding financial language too intimidating for them to consider applying.
The research, among 506 SMEs, found CAPEX was the most misunderstood piece of jargon.
One third of respondents did not know the meaning of CAPEX or capital expenditure, while just 31.4 per cent knew what ROCE, or return on capital employed, represents.
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Across the UK, SMEs based in the south east were the most likely to be put off by jargon at 57.1 per cent, while those in the south west were most comfortable with terminology at 70 per cent.
Women were more likely to be put off by terminology, with 53 per cent deterred, compared with 44.5 per cent of men.
Older SME owners, those over 55, were least likely to be put off by terminology, with just 21 per cent agreeing it was an issue, in contrast to 58.2 per cent of 24-34 year-olds.
“It’s disappointing, but perhaps not surprising, that nearly half of UK SMEs are put off applying for finance by the terminology used,” said Peter Alderson, managing director of LDF.
“For many, running a SME is a challenging, all consuming activity, so complicated financial jargon and acronyms are just extra barriers in the way of their success.
“There seems to be a tipping point, at which the companies really start to grow, and there is often a need for additional finance, but the language used doesn’t encourage people to apply, potentially hindering their expansion.”