Unlocking the potential of Business Finance – by Philip King
19 June 2014
Vince Cable will be launching ‘The Business Finance Guide’ next week in the House of Commons and I’m pleased to say the ICM will be there as one of its contributors. The Guide has been produced through a partnership of 19 organisations and co-ordinated by the ICAEW and the new British Business Bank.
There are an increasing number of sources of business finance available and awareness of the alternatives has long been an issue. The guide is a serious attempt to bridge that gap by providing information, simply and in one place, about sources of finance available to businesses, ranging from start-ups, to ‘micro-businesses’, to SMEs and growing mid-sized companies.
It has been devised for entrepreneurs who are starting a business, directors who are running growing businesses, and for well-established companies – large and small – as well as for business advisers and investors, hence the subtitle, ‘A journey from start-up to growth’. The ‘journey’ concept is intended to highlight how growing a business and raising capital are ongoing processes throughout the life of the business, and different forms of finance will be required at different times.
The words written by the ICM focus on the importance of managing cashflow and draw attention to the fact that many businesses have funds already available to them that just need to be unlocked. Invoices outstanding from debtors represent money that should often already be in the business’ bank account and, with the application of good credit management practice, can quickly become available.
I’m delighted that the range and diversity of finance sources are growing, and there are some great new initiatives emerging. For far too long the assumption of many has been that the overdraft is the only available option and it’s great to see that changing.
I commend ‘The Business Finance Guide’ as a rich and useful source of information and hope it will be well received and used as a route to aid continuing recovery and growth. In parallel though, let’s not overlook the fact that sometimes the quickest, cheapest, and easiest route to funds is already within the business, and management of debtors is the key.