A tighter lending market has been brewing for some time now, with many accountants speaking on the difficulties facing their small business clients in being able to access affordable finance.
Speaking on Accountants Daily Insider, former small business minister Bruce Billson acknowledged the issue, while calling on accountants and small business owners to continually speak up to make their case heard.
“It has been a long time coming and the royal commission has caused further reflection within the traditional banks and that has leaned towards a more conservative disposition,” Mr Billson said.
“Sadly, too many conversations with small business owners looking for finance starts with ‘show us your collateral’, and that is a real limiting factor if you’re in a business where you put your assets forward to secure the business and now you’re looking to grow the business and you don’t have a second house.
“There’s a need to keep turning up and making the case, so much of the banking and access to finance conversation doesn’t include a knowledgeable and informed discussion about what small businesses are experiencing.”
However, Mr Billson noted that there were some positive moves underfoot, including the government’s plan to introduce a $100 million Australian Business Growth Fund and a $2 billion Australian Business Securitisation Fund.
More recently, the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman released the Business Funding Guide, a resource aimed towards accountants and bookkeepers to help them understand the range of funding options for business clients, outside the traditional major bank options.
“The good news is that we’re having these conversations and we’re seeing an entrepreneurial spark in many young people and we can tap into that. We’ve got economic growth which is a positive, and people are starting to understand how critical small business are, not only to the Australian economy, but our communities and our way of life,” Mr Billson said.
You can listen to Bruce Billson speak on the issue of SME financing on Accountants Daily Insider.
Jotham Lian is the 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.