A significant number of small businesses are living on the breadline with barely any spare cash to cover emergencies.
According to a survey from GE Capital 16% of SME's are sailing close to the wind with only a minimum amount of cash available if required.
Around 28,000 small firms admitted they would struggle if something unforeseen hit their business.
On a positive note 24% revealed they had a decent cash buffer or access to banking facilities to help them out of a hole.
John Jenkins, CEO of GE Capital, said that the findings did give cause for concern: ""With so many businesses under pressure due to increased competition, a decline in customer spend and increasing costs of raw materials, it is worrying that so many are not in a position to deal with an emergency should it arise."
In findings that go slightly against the trend that has come out of other SME lobby groups, many of those quizzed by GE Capital believed that could get access to funds from financial institutions.
There have been some doubts raised about the ease with which SMEs can get funding and concerns they are being forced to pay high rates but the GE survey found that 54% believed the banking market was healthily competitive.