The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell, is seeking feedback on the ground-breaking Business Funding Guide.
The guide, released in July by ASBFEO in partnership with Scottish Pacific Business Finance, is an industry-first publication primarily written for accountants, bookkeepers, brokers and other financial advisers, to help their small business clients find the right funding and get “finance fit” to increase their likelihood of having funding applications approved.
Its companion guide FitsME – Essential Guide to Business Funding gives small-business operators the most important information they need to know about preparing to apply for finance.
“The overwhelming feedback from the small business community is that a lack of access to funding is their biggest barrier to growth,” Ms Carnell said.
The ASBFEO noted that the Australian Banking Association (ABA) has even acknowledged that small business loan applications have fallen by 33 per cent since 2014.
While ASBFEO and Scottish Pacific consulted widely with adviser associations and other key stakeholders representing the small-business sector to produce the first edition of the guide, feedback is now being sought to finalise the guide.
The ASBFEO welcomes feedback on the content and usefulness of the guide from all interested parties.
“At the moment this is a living document that can be amended and improved based on the feedback we get, with a final version of the guide to be available later this year. Importantly, this guide is designed to help small businesses become ‘finance fit’ to give them their best chance at securing the funding they need,” Ms Carnell said.
The ASBFEO said that the Business Funding Guide offers comprehensive information on the range of financial products on the market, and the fact that the big four banks are not the only game in town.
“There are so many variables in running a small business, but the one constant is that SMEs need funds to grow,” Scottish Pacific CEO, Peter Langham, said. “By incorporating broad feedback, the guide will be able to really engage businesses and their advisers about a wide range of bank and non-bank funding options and give them the tools to find the right one for them.”
Ms Carnell said that while the guide covered a wide range of funding options, for those small-business operators considering obtaining finance through a mainstream financial institution, the ABA is promoting its website financingyoursmallbusiness.com.au as a helpful resource.