As business look more to their advisors, particularly accountants and bookkeepers, its great to start to get your clients ready for any funding they may need in the near future.
A common misconception amongst accountants & bookkeepers is that you need a separate financial or credit license to be able to talk to your small business clients about business finance. This is not true. You can provide guidance and advice to your clients about business finance products, provided that is in accordance with any other applicable rules and laws. Business finance is not classified as a “financial product” under the Corporations Act, so it does not have a licensing regime at the moment.
Here are the top tips from Xero on how to get your clients finance ready:
- In the current credit climate lenders may ask for more detailed financial information to support small business loan applications. Accountants & bookkeepers can play a vital role in supporting their clients through the process.
- Have regular conversations with your clients to understand the capital requirements of their business. Accountants & bookkeepers are best placed to understand their client’s challenges and help provide solutions, of which funding might be one of them.
- If a customer is having an issue with repaying a loan, accountants and bookkeepers can support by proactively engaging with the lender early and then help work through solutions. For example, focus on resolving late payments or provide advice on business and pricing models.
Once you have identified a need, its important to prepare:
- Do your homework – It’s important you consider whether a loan is the right option for your client. Have a conversation around what the funds will be used for (match the term of the loan to the life of the asset being financed), whether the repayment term is manageable based on the current and future level of business cash flow, and use the various reporting options to assess the financial position of the business. Help your client with a cash flow forecast and understand any expected changes in revenue to ensure the repayments will be affordable.
- Ensure data in accounting software is in good order – Before submitting a loan ensure your clients data is correct and up to date. A lender will then have access to the most accurate snapshot of the business to help speed up the application assessment process.
- Consider your service offering – Does your client need updated forecasts on a regular basis? Perhaps scenario planning where you look at different ways to approach a problem? Or do they need monthly or quarterly business planning where you can reassess their capital requirements? This is the ideal opportunity to look beyond getting your customer finance ready and consider a deeper advisory relationship to help them grow and thrive.
- Consider invoice finance to support cash flow shortfalls – Invoice Finance, offers an easy way for small businesses to access capital tied up in invoices to help get on top of business expenses and cash flow bumps when they arise.
Looking for a guide to find the right funding option?
Download our Business Funding Guide, developed in partnership with the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBEFEO), which gives advisors the tools to become finance fit and choose the right funding option.
Thank you, Xero, for providing these tips as a follow up to XeroCon Sydney 2022.