Brokers have an important role to play in helping SMEs stay in good financial shape in the 2020 financial year, a leading commercial broker has said.
Jo Anderson, director at Loan IQ, has called on brokers to think about how they can help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) get in good financial shape to improve their chances of obtaining finance, an issue that SMEs say they have long grappled with in Australia.
“Finding the right financial solution for clients, whether it’s invoice finance, equipment finance, other specialist solutions or an overdraft, is all about really understanding small-business owners and the intricacies of their businesses,” she said.
As such, Ms Anderson’s first tip for brokers is to conduct a needs analysis for SME clients.
“This would include asking questions about why they need finance, what industry they are in, what are the strengths of their businesses and what are the risks and how will they mitigate them,” the Loan IQ director advised.
“Ask them what security they have to offer a lender and if they have had any credit or tax issues in the past. Ask them if they have applied for credit previously and what issues, if any, arose.”
Secondly, Ms Anderson, who is also a Scottish Pacific business finance introducer, suggested that brokers help SME clients understand the cash drivers and working capital cycle of their business by reviewing their financial position. The review should include an analysis of their financial statements, debtors/creditors, business plan, forecasts and tax position.
Next in the Loan IQ director’s checklist is providing SME clients suggestions on finance options – such as overdraft, invoice finance, asset finance, bank loan, home loan, vendor finance, etc. – based on the findings of the needs analysis and financial position review.
If the SME is likely to qualify for any of the preferred options, brokers should go ahead and explain the application process, as well as how a commercial finance broker can help the business to minimise the impact of enquiries and rejections on their credit history, according to Ms Anderson.
“We ask clients to access their own credit file (this action does not leave a negative footprint) and send it to us for review,” she said.
Lastly, she suggested that brokers partner or connect with a lender or another broker who specialises in commercial finance if they feel that they are not best-equipped to help the client.
On a final note, Ms Anderson said she would like to see more accountants referring their SME clients to commercial brokers.
“Commercial brokers should be working closely with accountants, as we can provide accountants with on-the-ground knowledge of so many finance options that might work for their clients,” the Loan IQ director said.
“A good commercial broker will pick reputable SME funders to develop solid working relationships with, and they will know which ones are the best fit for each individual client.”