Get Started: Lending environment little-changed this year

STABLE LENDING

The lending environment for small and mid-sized businesses has changed little this year compared with the end of 2017.

That's according to a survey of 1,237 companies taken during the first quarter and released Monday by researchers at Pepperdine University's Graziadio School of Business and Management and Dun & Bradstreet Corp.

Companies questioned in the survey found borrowing less difficult in the first three months of the year — 54 percent said it was hard to get credit, down from 58 percent in the fourth quarter. Going forward, 56 percent expect it will be difficult to get credit, the same as in the fourth-quarter survey.

Banks remained the largest source of credit for small and mid-sized companies, with a third getting credit from either large or community banks, little changed from the fourth quarter. Thirty-seven percent didn't seek credit, also little changed.

An index that shows how accessible financing is for small businesses rose to 34.8 from 34.0 in the fourth quarter. A separate index that measures demand for financing rose to 36.4 from 36.2.

The survey questioned businesses with annual revenue of up to $100 million from Dun & Bradstreet's database. The company compiles credit reports on companies.

TAX BURDENS

Dealing with federal income taxes is still a chore for small business owners even when they have an accountant or tax professional handling their returns. That's the finding of a survey released last week by the advocacy group National Small Business Association.

The survey, which questioned 953 owners, found that a wide majority, 68 percent, give their returns to a tax pro to prepare. But 57 percent still said federal taxes have a moderate or significant impact on the day-to-day operation of their businesses. One-third said they spend more than 40 hours a year on federal taxes.

The administrative burden posed by taxes is expected to increase this year following the enactment of the new tax law. Sixty-seven percent expect paperwork and other tax-related chores to be their biggest tax burden this year, up from 60 percent in 2017.

Only 7 percent predicted that filing their taxes would be easier as a result of the law.

Thirty-six percent of owners have a relatively small financial burden from their federal taxes, not including the tax itself, paying up to $1,000 for tax preparation. Another third spend between $1,000 and $5,000, and nearly a third spend more than $5,000.

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Follow Joyce Rosenberg at www.twitter.com/JoyceMRosenberg . Her work can be found here: https://apnews.com/search/joyce%20rosenberg

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