Aileen Boyle, managing director, Braemar Finance

Appetite of dentists to invest is strong but access to funding is a challenge.

Despite half of dental practice owners in the UK and the Republic of Ireland finding access to finance ‘a challenge’, the majority still intend to press ahead with a search for funding for investment in the next 12 months, research from BraemarFinance reveals.

The findings are based on a Lightspeed survey conducted on behalf of Braemar Finance in May 2018, which canvassed the opinion of 830 professions’ SMEs across the UK and Ireland.

Less than one in five dentists are finding it easier to access the funding they need from lenders, with a quarter never having had a problem.

Focusing on dentists’ enthusiasm to invest, the results show a clear split between the two regions, with 60% of UK-based dentists answering ‘yes’ to the question ‘do you plan to seek funding for business investment in the next 12 months?’ against 48% from those in Ireland.

‘There is a common perception that there is a strong appetite from funders to lend to the businesses in the professions sectors,’ said Aileen Boyle, managing director, Braemar Finance. ‘What our research shows is that there is a far more nuanced picture out there, with some firms still finding it a challenge accessing the funds they need to invest, despite businesses wanting to do just that.’

Q: Thinking about access to funding, is it….

A major challenge

Ireland 15%

UK

21%

A minor challenge

Ireland

37%

UK

29%

Becoming easier

Ireland 19%
UK

17%

Never had a problem Ireland

26%

UK

25%

Don’t know

Ireland

4%

UK

8%

‘Interestingly, in Ireland double the number of firms (33%) are sitting on the fence about whether to invest or not when compared to the UK (15%),’ continued Aileen. ‘This reluctance most likely comes from the difficulty they have faced in securing finance in the past.’

Q: Do you plan to seek funding for business investment in the next 12 months?

Yes

Ireland 48%

UK

60%

No

Ireland 19%
UK

25%

Still making up my mind

Ireland

33%

UK

15%

Sources of financial advice and support…

In both the UK and Ireland, the dental practice’s accountant is the first place they go for financial support and advice, followed by their bank manager and financial advisor.

‘These results are consistent across the professions,’ explained Aileen. ‘It’s clear that they have a big role to play in advising and helping firms to unlock the doors to finance and investment.’