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Why is alternative finance more attractive to SMEs?

A new study has underlined why alternative finance has become so popular with SMEs and why it is so important going forward as these companies battle significant headwinds, not least insecurity surrounding the EU referendum.

Given the uncertain conditions, it is illuminating to learn from the Amicus research that almost a third of small business questioned had lost out on a business deal because of an inability to secure finance. With pension auto enrolment, the National Living Wage and cybersecurity among the factors putting pressure on cash flow and capital, SMEs need to be able to access funds when and how they want.

Notably, over half of the businesses involved in the study said alternative finance was more attractive because it was more flexible, had a greater ability to lend and offered longer payment terms. This fluidity is clearly vital to businesses that are a driving force for wider business sector growth but are facing some major obstacles in terms of development.

Interestingly, almost 20% of the companies that took part in the research had been turned down for finance by a traditional lender, an increase on the percentage recorded in 2015. Traditional lenders were criticised for being unable to reach a decision quickly, inflexible loan conditions and insufficient knowledge and experience.

The results from the Amicus study emphasise the need for small businesses to be aware of the full range of finance options available to them, including the likes of invoice finance, asset finance and peer-to-peer lending. While the expansion of the alternative finance sector has made the headlines – and this growth is expected to continue according to the research, with those involved forecast the sector to grow by almost 30% in the next two years – there is still the need to raise awareness of what’s on offer. The public and private sector should take joint responsibility for this.

Looking ahead, whatever the result of the June referendum, the SMEs that do the best will be the ones that have a solid finance platform, and based on the findings of the Amicus study and the dramatic growth of the sector in recent years, alternative finance needs to be a part of this.

To find out more about A&T Business Associates services, contact us on 01903 602211 or info@atbusinessassociates.co.uk.

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