Advisory

Build a digital future by adding funding to your advisory proposition

14 Apr 2021

Gaining access to funding can be challenging for SMEs, especially those with a short trading history, lack of security or less-than-perfect credit history. Fortunately, alternative finance provisions are changing the narrative. Find out why now’s the perfect time for your accountancy firm to adopt the role of funding advisor for your clients.

Women in a meeting

Technology is an enabler for everyone, not least of all accountants. Cloud accounting, app integrations and automation means standard compliance services are taking a backseat and advisory services focusing on growth are coming to the fore. 

As part of this change, an increasing number of accountants are helping their clients obtain the business finance they need to succeed. If your accountancy firm is considering adding funding advice to its proposition, here’s how you can set it up for success.

1. Adopt a digital-first mindset

To make advisory services work, accountancy practices must combine their industry experience with the best digital solutions in the market. 

By using accounting software such as Xero to take care of the compliance side of things, and apps to automate bookkeeping, you can refocus your time and resources on your advisory offering. To pinpoint gaps in funding, spend time to really get to know your clients’ businesses – including any existing challenges and ambitions. 

Of course, the same goes for your clients too, who must also be willing to embrace digital platforms in order to reap the benefits. The UK Government’s Making Tax Digital (MTD) initiative pushed businesses to adopt digital tools for tax and accounting. 

However, the benefits of embracing a digital-first approach clearly extend way beyond streamlining tax returns. Cloud-accounting platforms also provide SMEs – and their advisors – with the tools to facilitate:

  • Better financial management 

  • Transparency through real-time reporting

  • Quick identification of gaps in funding

As an accountant, you’re already a trusted advisor in the eyes of your clients. Digital tools are there to widen your advisory potential by making it easier for you to assess your clients’ finances on a more granular level. 

With access to detailed information at your fingertips, you can advise on the entire business planning cycle, including in matters of business funding. 

2. Identify your client’s funding requirements

As a digital-first firm, you’re in the perfect position to be able to help your clients identify where and when they need finance. After all, you’re spending less time focusing on ledgers and more time cash flow forecasting. You have an insight into:

  • Your clients’ growth strategy

  • Seasonal peaks and troughs 

  • Cash flow pipelines (including how the pandemic has impacted these)

The more you know about your clients’ company, the easier it’ll be for you to identify opportunities for funding through finance. Once you have a view of the full picture, you can work on sourcing the right type of funding for your client. 

At a time of unparalleled uncertainty, your advisory services have never been more critical. Whether your client requires a Government loan to help them rebuild following the lockdown or an alternative finance facility to fund exponential growth, there’s a solution out there. 

By tapping into business finance, your clients can keep their businesses trading during tough times, set growth plans into action, ease the pressure by refinancing existing debt or invest in new assets, inventory, employees and premises.

Although times are tough, there’s never been a more innovative time in finance. While traditional lenders and bank loans still exist, there’s an array of alternative options on the market just waiting to be leveraged.  

Merchant cash advances, for instance, enable businesses to pay their loan back through online or in-store customer card payments. Then there’s bridging loans, which provide companies with short-term funding to get from A to B. 

The question is: with an ever-growing selection of alternative finance options on the market, how can you identify the right business finance solution for your client? Cue our next point...

3. Join Funding Options’ advisory platform

At Funding Options, we help UK firms access business finance, working directly with businesses and their trusted advisors. We combine our in-depth understanding of the business finance market with technology to find financial solutions that fit. 

We invite accountants to join our advisory platform, Connect. In partnering with us, you can leverage our expertise and pass the benefits on to your clients.

 We provide an instant comparison and help throughout the process, from application to when your client receives the funds. To get started, we’ll ask them to provide some basic details, including how much they need to borrow, what the funding is for and how quickly they need it. This won’t affect your client’s credit score. 

As long as the amount your client requires finance ranges from £1000 up to £15M, we can help. We’ll compare over 120 lenders specialising in everything from invoice finance and revolving credit facilities to asset based lending and commercial mortgages

Join the 150+ accountancy firms in the UK already using Connect and register today.

Join Connect

Thomas Boyd

Thomas Boyd

Head of Commercial

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