Succession was the topic for our latest Deep Dive webinar which we hosted earlier this week. More than 150 people registered for the event, highlighting how…
As an accountant engaged with SMEs and funding, I could hardly resist the “Accountants and the new frontier of finance: SME research report 2019” when it landed in my inbox last week. So, well done iwoca on grabbing my attention.
The report was compiled from an iwoca survey of “1,000 small business owners, to find out what cash flow obstacles they’ve faced and their experiences when seeking finance.”
The enhanced role of ‘the accountant’?
From my reading of the report, it covers two main areas where accountants are seen to have an enhanced role, now and in the future. These two areas and the conclusions reached in the report are summarised below:
|Access to real time accounting data
|“Our data leads us to believe that with cloud accounting technologies, modern firms are able to step in to assist clients in this area.
Accountants who’ve adopted methods of working with live data are enhancing their contact with clients and creating deeper relationships with businesses”
|Knowledge of, and access to potential funding solutions
|“Accountants clearly have a role in putting clients and finance together. As tech adopters, the accountancy profession can share their insights and experience with clients and, if required, direct clients to the most appropriate sources of finance. Knowledge of these sources can only broaden the offering firms give their clients, improve retention and fuel growth.”|
I would like to think it is non-contentious to say that PKF Francis Clark have already recognised these new frontiers and have put teams and processes in place to assist our clients. I do, however, expect our offerings in both of the above areas will continue to evolve.
“Despite 16% of our respondents saying that they had difficulties accessing finance through banks, only 5.8% said that they would turn to an online challenger instead” states the report. Although based on my reading of the two individual questions and responses that have been combined to give that statement, I am not entirely convinced that would be the conclusion I would draw…
Regardless, there is still a definite preference for the majority of SMEs to look to the high street banks as the first port of call for funding. And to be honest, I can generally see the logic in this.
However, it should of course be borne in mind that there are a host of ‘alternative’ finance providers active in the market (read our blog for indication of size of debt finance market) and it is definitely worth expanding the search for finance beyond the high street and as iwoca mentioned in their report, “The latest data from UK Finance showed that in the last quarter of 2018, iwoca provided 12% of all new UK business overdraft approvals, overtaking Santander and HSBC. This shows that small businesses are becoming more aware of the different options that are available to them.”
PKF Francis Clark
As I would hope most readers of this post would be aware, I have striven to make businesses aware of the funding options potentially available to them through our blog, breakfast briefings, factsheets and events such as the “Finance in…” series. On an operational level, my colleagues and I in the ‘Corporate Finance Lite’ team here at PKF Francis Clark are working with organisations such as Capitalise to open up links to a wide range of the debt funding options (including iwoca). Other colleagues have good links with PE and VC firms and the crowdfunding platforms. I also try to keep informed of grants for business. If you have a finance requirement, please contact your usual PKF Francis Clark contact or, if not a client, contact me in the first instance.
As I am also sure you will be aware, we have a Cloud Accounting team “so invite us in to review your business health and be on hand to guide or advise” as our website says…
By Andrew James