Following the first look at Braemar Finance’s detailed research into the profession, we continue to delve into dentists’ views on a range of key subjects, from access to finance to their key sources of financial advice and support. In this update Aileen Boyle compares and contrasts the thoughts of UK dentists with those in Ireland to find out where the similarities and differences lie.

Despite half of dental practice owners in the UK and Ireland finding access to finance a challenge, the majority still intend to press ahead with seeking funding for investment in the next 12 months. In fact, less than one in five dentists are finding it easier to access the funding they need from lenders, with only a quarter never having had a problem.

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 profession’s sectors, but what our research shows is that there is a far more nuanced picture out there, with some practices still finding it a challenge accessing the funds they need to invest, despite businesses wanting to do just that.

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%

In terms of future investment – interestingly – in Ireland double the number of practices (33%) are sitting on the fence about whether to invest or not when compared to the UK (15%). This reluctance most likely comes from the difficulty they have faced in securing finance in the past.

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 adviser.

These results are consistent across the professions and it’s clear that they have a big role to play in advising and helping practices to unlock the doors to finance and investment.

Where do you (as a business) mainly go for financial support and advice?

Accountant Ireland 37%
UK 41%
Bank manager Ireland 26%
UK 19%
Finance adviser Ireland 22%
UK 19%
Peers Ireland 4%
UK 0%
Online Ireland 11%
UK 5%
Friend/family Ireland 0%
UK 7%
Solicitor/lawyer Ireland 0%
UK 0%
Other Ireland 0%
UK 9%