Failing to hire a finance director (FD) is preventing small businesses from accessing the capital required to kick-start economic growth in the UK, according to My Business FD research.
The survey asked small and medium enterprises (SMEs), professional advisers and financiers how important it was to access high-quality financial management. It found that SMEs employing FDs were more likely to gain finance from banks or investors. The reason why? Financiers believe that companies with an FD outperform those without.
But while there is a strong appetite among financiers to lend to SMEs, they are more rigorous about their lending and financing requirements.
Trevor Overall, joint managing director at My Business FD, said: “Not only do financiers stress the importance of hiring an FD, but also that such a hire is crucial to breaking the stalemate between SMEs and investors, and unlocking access to growth capital.”
The UK is increasingly reliant on its SME sector to re-boot economic growth. In 2012 there were 4.8m businesses, according to a report from the House of Commons Library. Although only 0.1 per cent of total businesses had more than 250 employees, they accounted for 41 per cent of employment and 51 per cent of turnover.
“Businesses need to grow to make meaningful contributions to the economy in terms of turnover and employment,” said Overall. “It would be a scandalous waste of talent and could cost the economy billions if these companies failed to reach their growth potential simply because they did not hire an FD.”
Many small businesses have a limited understanding of the benefits that an FD can bring to the company.
Here is what an FD can do for you:
- Improve the quality of the company;
- Improve the fiscal health of a company;
- Can act as a strategic sounding board;
- Can help you avoid legal pitfalls;
- Helps with human resources; and
- Enables the business and financier to communicate.
Chris Chapman, joint managing director of My Business FD, explains that “a financial director is able to accurately forecast the finances for the company. That means they can show the financier their capital will be used effectively and ensure they make a return on their investment. Too many SMEs, particularly at the smaller end of the scale, think they have to hire a full-time FD which is unaffordable. They don’t realise they can access high quality financial acumen through a part-time or interim FD.”
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