This article was first published in the November 2012 UK edition of Accounting and Business magazine.
One of the things I learned during my time in business was the importance of getting the right advice.
And getting the right accountancy advice is particularly important; guidance on issues like tax, debt, cashflow and funding can really make or break a business, particularly those just starting out. Accountants have a real opportunity to help nurture and grow our small businesses and I encourage the profession to see their role in such a light.
The interaction you have with businesses also makes you perfectly placed to inform them about the range of schemes that the government has made available to support growth. Schemes such as the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS), GrowthAccelerator and business mentoring are all designed to help businesses develop and grow and we need you to help raise awareness.
The government and private sector have launched the Business in You campaign to help current and potential entrepreneurs find the support they need to get their businesses started or growing. Business in You highlights the best advice, resources and tools available from across government and the world of business, making it easy for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to find what they need. This includes advice on mentoring, employment, exporting and, perhaps most importantly, access to finance.
Many small businesses get started with little or no background in finance. This is where a accountant’s help is vital. They understand that what causes most businesses to fail is poor financial management, and have the knowledge to help clients avoid the usual pitfalls. With so many options for businesses looking for funding, SMEs are faced with the difficult task of sorting through what is available and what makes sense for their particular needs. Advice from a trusted professional who knows their business can mean everything.
As a result of Tim Breedon’s review into non-bank lending, some of the key accountancy groups have agreed to work together to launch a ‘kitemarking’ system, to help businesses identify accountancy firms offering the best independent financial advice. We hope to see this launch in the new year.
Access to finance is the most common problem faced by SMEs, which is why we are improving the range of bank and non-bank lending channels available. Through the Business in You campaign you will be able to help your clients identify what is available and how to understand what types of finance is most suited to their needs.
Support for SMEs
The Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) is a potential boon for your clients who are business owners as well as those who are investors. SEIS was developed to help small businesses get equity finance by offering tax incentives to investors who purchase company shares. It complements the existing Enterprise Investment Scheme but offers a higher rate of tax relief to investors.
With a network of more than 800 business experts, GrowthAccelerator offers support in innovation, business development, access to finance and leadership skills. GrowthAccelerator aims to help high-potential small business overcome the barriers to growth by providing the expertise, insight and networks to achieve sustainable growth.
Many small businesses prefer to get advice and support from other businesses but don’t necessarily know where to go for impartial guidance. Through Mentorsme, businesses have access to 22,000 trained mentors, many offering services at no charge, in all sectors and in all parts of the country.