Navigating Alternative Finance for Accountants and their Business Clients

Navigating Alternative Finance for Accountants and their Business Clients

We often get asked from both accountants and their clients to help them find finance beyond what we provide with SmartFee.

As a Fintech company we are constantly monitoring the evolution of funding solutions as the range of Alternative Finance (AltFi) options for businesses owners continues to expand. The great news for any business owner is that there’s a range of solutions now for pretty much any type of funding requirement. The vast majority of AltFi providers operate online and have built their value propositions around ease and speed of application and approval.  While it’s great to have plenty of options, there’s also a potentially hidden risk to any business. The key to success is understanding the best approach to applying for finance and not putting the business or the business owner at risk of impacting their credit file or mismatching the funding requirement to the solution being applied for. Business owners must also read the fine print and be clear on potential exposure to significant penalties and charges that may be applied should a payment be missed.


5 Golden Rules for Obtaining Business Finance through AltFi providers

  1. Select the right finance option for the business stage

The most important step – Make sure the options you are considering match the current business lifecycle stage. It’s important that you look beyond the generic options e.g. an overdraft and consider specialty forms of finance that match the business cycle, the purpose for funding and cash-flow cycle. Specialist finance providers are experts in their specific type of finance which mean that taking the time to find the right solution will increase your chance of success.

  1. Be clear on purpose, timing, term and risk

Make sure you’re clear on what the finance will be used for, how quickly the funds will be needed, how much can be repaid and how often, and the risk criteria for the lender. It’s worth putting yourself in the lenders’ shoes – is the business a good bet for a finance company?

If you’re not sure, ask the finance provider BEFORE your send the application through.

  1. Select the best provider

When you or your client applies for finance there should be only ONE provider that you apply to. Multiple applications for finance impact the business and individual’s credit rating and make the business and owners potentially look like a bad risk. Do your homework and build a list of target providers. Understand their requirements for applying, the information they need and their approval process. The majority of AltFi providers have detailed information on the minimum info required for an application. If you have any concerns or questions it’s worth a phone call to discuss the specifics. Once you’ve completed your research, apply to the provider that you know you have the best chance of success with.

  1. Make sure your client (or you) is “Investable”

Look at the things that are important to your chosen finance provider and make sure they are in order. Consider doing a credit check for your client BEFORE they apply. Make sure their financials and bank statements are up-to-date and ensure that any other potential relevant information is at hand e.g. forecast, management accounts and business plan.

  1. Make it Happen!

You’ve done all the hard work, now make it pay off. How?

PICK UP THE PHONE…that’s right, if you pick up the phone and talk with the provider, your chances of success increase significantly. We recommend that you contact them before you submit the application. Remember, the majority of AltFi providers want to work with Accountants and they’ll be happy to address your questions. You are far better off confirming everything is in order before the application proceeds.