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Cash Flow Issues and Debt Levels Among Chief Concerns of Business Leaders

23 Jul 2020

Cash flow issues, incurring debt, and the impact of COVID-19 on their organisations’ ‘bottom line’ for 2020 are among the chief concerns of business leaders in advance  findings of the latest Director Sentiment Monitor for Q2 2020 to be published next week by the Institute of Directors (IoD) in Ireland.

Ahead of the Government's stimulus package announcement later this week, the IoD survey has found that:

  • 38% of business leaders foresee their primary organisation as having cash flow issues for the rest of 2020.
  • 36% of business leaders say their primary organisation has already experienced cash flow issues in Q2 2020.
  • 26% of business leaders say their organisations' debt has increased as a result of COVID-19. Of these respondents (i.e. the 26%), when asked how this debt situation would most likely be for the rest of 2020, 32% said their organisations' debt level will increase as a result of COVID-19. Just 3% of business leaders said their organisations' debt level would reduce.
  • 61% of business leaders rate as significant the potential impact of COVID-19 on their organisations' bottom line for the year 2020.

Maura Quinn, Chief Executive of the Institute of Directors in Ireland, said:

“The impact of COVID-19 on Irish business and society has been sudden, significant and, indeed, transformative in many ways. Many business leaders are battling to ‘keep the show on the road’ and are experiencing cash flow issues and taking on more debt. The new Government’s imminent stimulus package must encompass further measures to help businesses survive in the short term and recover as best they can.”

The IoD research was conducted for its latest quarterly Director Sentiment Monitor survey between Wednesday, 1st July, and Tuesday, 7th July 2020, amongst its 3,000 members, comprising CEOs and company directors. It covered Q2 2020, the period when COVID-19 and the Government’s lockdown measures took full effect.

The key findings of the Director Sentiment Monitor survey for Q2 2020 include:

Cash Flow

When asked, 'Do you foresee your primary organisation having cash flow issues for the rest of 2020?', business leaders replied:

  • Yes: 38%
  • No: 60%
  • Not applicable: 2%

When asked, 'Did your primary organisation experience cash flow issues in Q2?', business leaders answered:

  • Yes: 36%
  • No: 62%
  • Not applicable: 3%


When asked, 'As a result of Covid-19, has your primary organisation’s debt increased?', business leaders selected the following:

  • Yes: 26%
  • No: 66%
  • Not applicable: 7%

Furthermore, the 26% of business leaders that answered ‘yes’ to the previous question were asked, ‘For the rest of 2020, what statement is most likely for your primary organisation?’, and they chose as follows:

  • Debt level will increase as a result of COVID-19: 32%
  • Debt level will reduce as a result of COVID-19: 3%
  • Debt level will not change: 49%
  • Not applicable: 15%

Bottom Line for the year 2020

When asked, ‘How would you rate the potential impact of the coronavirus COVID-19 on your organisation’s bottom line for the year 2020?’, business leaders chose the following:

  • Significant: 61%
  • Marginal: 27%
  • No impact 7%
  • Unknown: 5%

Please note: The findings in this survey have been rounded up or down to the nearest decimal point. For all of the above findings, respondents were given the option to choose one answer only. They could not choose multiple answers.