One in five firms struggles to find facts on finance


More than a fifth of the UK’s small businesses say they’re frustrated by a lack of independent data when choosing financial products.

The Federation of Small Businesses says one in five SMEs say they don’t where to start when choosing a business current account, loan, overdraft or other financial products for their business – and that’s a serious issue for Britain, says the organisation, because small businesses account for more than 99 of the UK private sector.

SMEs have revealed the biggest challenges they experience in buying financial products – in new research from Business Banking Insight. Worryingly, one in five (22.1%) cite a lack of independent data on providers and products as the biggest barrier. For a further 28.8% the sheer time to gather information creates further challenges.

Federation of Small Businesses National Chairman Mike Cherry said: “Accessing affordable finance can be a real challenge for small businesses, and yet it is often essential to allow them to grow and contribute more to the economy. While a much wider range of options now exist, this research clearly shows that navigating less-traditional sources of finance is time-consuming and sometimes baffling to busy entrepreneurs working hard to run their businesses day-to-day. That is why independent online tools such as the British Banking Insight (BBI) are important in breaking down the barriers.

“These are significant issues for British business. With 5.7m SMEs, the risk to small companies purchasing financial products which are either unsuitable, contractually inflexible or charge high fees can result in serious productivity, cash flow and debt problems.

“The growing number of new online-only providers and business-banks has made the right choice tougher – and more important. Going to your existing provider may be convenient, but can prove costly.”

The BBI website provides a free, independent solution for SMEs. A joint initiative from the Federation of Small Businesses, British Chambers of Commerce and HM Treasury, shows which product providers have been most recommended, by 20,000 small businesses. This data is not published anywhere else.

It provides easy-to-access provider recommendations for SMEs by SMEs. You can even view product recommendations relevant to company size, sector and turnover. The site is free to use, independent and no commission is paid for any recommendations.