Developed by the ASBFEO, in partnership with Scottish Pacific Business Finance, the Business Funding Guide is aimed at getting accountants “up to speed” with a range of funding options for business clients, outside the traditional major bank options.
With a third of small business owners having their applications for bank loans knocked back, ASBFEO Kate Carnell is hoping the guide will give advisers a resource to lean on to better understand the various finance providers in the market.
“Many more have not bothered to even apply as they’ve been told that, unless they have significant equity in real estate, their application will fail,” Ms Carnell told Accountants Daily.
“It is not surprising that many accountants and brokers and others in the financial services space are not aware of the products that are available and the pros and cons of various products.
“This is in no way a criticism of accountants or brokers or financial advisers, or whoever. It is just that the market has changed really quickly. Fintechs and the range of fintech products didn’t exist five years ago, and it was not that long ago that the banks were ringing up small businesses asking whether they wanted more money, but that is not the case anymore.”
The guide will help walk accountants through a four-step process of preparing their clients prior to sourcing funding, including creating cash flow forecasts and reviewing P&L, before exploring the various types of funding options to suit different business needs.
A funding decision flowchart and funding matrix have also been included to help provide a snapshot of options for advisers and their clients.
“We think having the guide will make it easier for accountants to raise these issues with their SME clients,” Scottish Pacific chief executive Peter Langham told Accountants Daily.
“Business owners pour their hearts and souls into their SMEs, and we know they have a lot on their plate. Having a trusted accountant working with them should be seen by business owners as an investment in their business growth, rather than a cost point.”
Speaking at the launch event on Monday, Lielette Calleja, director of All That Counts, said the guide was a necessary resource to help accountants and bookkeepers in their role as trusted advisers.
Ms Calleja said that as a nation, Australia has “created a nation of DIY — do-it-yourself — accounting”, which has created knowledge gaps, particularly around business finance.
“We need to use this [guide] as advisers to help support our business clients,” she said.
“There’s big talk about all of us upskilling and being strategic advisers [to SMEs] — this is where it starts.”
The guide will be updated on an ongoing basis to reflect the fast-changing market, with the ASBFEO welcoming feedback in the meantime.
Jotham Lian is the news editor of Accountants Daily, the leading source of breaking news, analysis and insight for Australian accounting professionals.
Before joining the team in 2017, Jotham wrote for a range of national mastheads including the Sydney Morning Herald, and Channel NewsAsia.