Telling the truth about SME life today

How business charge cards could optimise your cashflow

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Some small businesses across the UK are looking ahead to 2015 with a sense of optimism when it comes to driving growth. The American Express Small Business Barometer found that just under half of the small businesses questioned have been experiencing business growth since the start of the year and 73 per cent are forecasting growth in the coming six months. This compares to 40 per cent in July 2013 and 56 per cent in November that same year*.

According to this research, small businesses surveyed are now more focused on identifying the potential of their unmanaged business spending, and increasing their purchasing power. Cashflow optimisation has a major role to play in freeing up funds that could be reinvested in the business, which is critical to achieving growth.


Managing cashflow is a continuous struggle for many SMEs who must balance the money coming into the business with the funds leaving it. Considering the fact that small businesses in the UK are owed a total of 39.4bn** it’s clear that this juggling act is likely to be an ongoing challenge.

Every business has regular and everyday overheads; according to the Barometer*, the average spend on outgoings like travel, stock, supplier payments and equipment is around 12,000 per year for each small firm in the UK. But small businesses need to note that factoring in this spend as part of their financial planning, such as paying for items using cash, cheques or cards that do not offer benefits such as extended payment terms, can still put a temporary squeeze on cashflow.

By using cards to pay for these day to day expenses, it will give them the flexibility that comes with being able to pay suppliers but not part with the funds until their statement balance is due. This frees up cash to invest in the business or to plug a temporary gap.

Making expense management easier

The payment systems available with cards are invaluable when it comes to giving a bird’s-eye view of company expenditure. This not only enables more accurate business forecasting, but it also identifies key areas where cash can be freed up, which can then be used to reinvest in the business to create growth.

Using an American Express Business Charge Card may mean small business owners have better control of their financial situation. They can check their balance, statements, available credit, and see all of their purchases, 24 hours a day. It could also save valuable time inputting expense data and help keep a close eye on employee expenses, helping ensure there are no big surprises at the end of the month.

American Express Business Charge Cards in practice

With an American Express Business Charge Card rewards are earned for virtually every pound spent. You can redeem your points for rewards including a statement credit to put towards future purchases for your business like fuel, entertaining clients and new equipment. There are also many other business benefits:

  • Using a business charge card helps to keep business and personal finances separate;
  • It enables better management of cashflow and frees up cash for business growth, as extended payment terms are available (with American Express thats up to 54 calendar days);
  • It enables supplier payments to be made upfront, meaning better relationships can be built; and
  • Upfront payment also means stronger terms can be negotiated as early payment discounts can be secured.

American Express is currently offering new American Express Gold Business Charge Cardmembers a welcome bonus of 20,000 Membership Rewards points when 3,000 is spent in the first three months of Cardmembership.(1) Plus the first year annual Card fee of 125 is offered for free.(3)

Visit the site to find out more.

Terms and conditions

If you’d prefer a Card without any rewards, other features or a Cardmembership fee, an alternative option is available – the Basic Business Card.

1. All introductory offers are subject to change, can be withdrawn at any time and are not available if you currently hold or have held any other Membership Rewards enrolled American Express Cards in the past six months.

2. If you are approved for an account and spend 3,000 on purchases on the account within the first three months of Cardmembership, 20,000 bonus Membership Rewards points will be awarded onto your account.

3. With this offer the first years Cardmembership is complimentary and then the annual Cardmembership fee is 125. From year two of your membership, a 125 annual Cardmembership fee will automatically be charged to your account on or after the anniversary of your account opening date.

4. You will earn Membership Rewards points for transactions charged and billed to your account at the following rates: one point for virtually every full 1 spent and charged per transaction, two points for virtually every full 1 spent and charged per transaction at major airlines, car hire, rail, cruise, lodging and travel package/agencies, and two points for virtually every equivalent 1 spent in a currency other than UK sterling outside of the UK at a non-UK registered merchant, with the exception of internet transactions.

5. Membership Rewards points are not earned on Cash Advances, American Express Travellers Cheque purchases, Foreign Exchange, Fees and Interest Charges for Returned Payments, Finance Charges, Late Payment and Referral Charges, Fees/charges including joining, annual and Membership Rewards fees.

Read the full terms and conditions.

Applicants must be 18 years old or over. Approval is subject to status and terms and conditions apply. The American Express Gold Business Card is offered by American Express Services Europe Limited. Registered Office: Belgrave House, 76 Buckingham Palace Road, London, SW1W 9AX, United Kingdom. Registered in England and Wales with Company Number 1833139.

*The American Express Small Business Barometer was commissioned by American Express and conducted by market researcher and online panel experts, Toluna. The research polled 250 small business decision makers qualified as Directors or C-level Executives in businesses with under 100 employees in the UK. The data collected in 2014 was done in June and July, while the 2013 American Express Small Business Barometer research was conduced in November.

**Research from Bacs Payment Schemes Limited among a panel of 350 UK SMEs, July 2014. Read more here.



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