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Do SMEs have better access to finance than before?

If there’s anything that contractors and accountants alike have had to deal with, it’s access to finance – yet a new report says things are getting better.

In fact, SMEs have always found it challenging to securing and then managing their funding – something that contractor accountants encounter all too often when a small business takes them on to help with financial planning. Sole traders and freelancers especially can end up being mired and unable to grow their businesses because of a lack of access to finance, but apparently it’s slowly but surely getting easier for SMEs to gain this access according to venture capital firm Albion Investors.

For the third year in a row, Albion has released a growth report in order to more easily analyse how SMEs are expanding year-to-year. For 2015, the firm says that there were some very positive results when it came to how many SMEs were able to find either grants or loans that provided them the capital to expand and grow their businesses.

Albion looked at more than 1,000 SMEs, discovering that 44 per cent of them were able to access finance this year. That might not sound like much to you and me – especially since that’s markedly less than half – but if you compare the figure to previous years it’s a massive difference: in 2013 there were just 26 per cent – barely over one in four – that could say the same thing, while 2014 saw that figure barely move upward to just 27 per cent. You don’t need to be good at maths to see that the playing field leveled quite rapidly in 2015, or at least it did if you can believe Albion’s figures.

Lovely news all around isn’t it? Well there are still some obstacles to clear for SMEs, especially going forward. Bureaucratic red tape is still the primary bane of small businesses, which is of course why it’s so important to have a contractor accountant on staff if you don’t have the ability to hire on a permanent one. By the same token the skills shortage is really hammering these SMEs hard, though the freelancer and contractor community has been supporting British employment in a major way over the last several years. As far as I’m concerned, things will continue to get better for SMEs if the money keeps flowing, as the judicial application of cash to pretty much every obstacle I can think of can end up moving mountains if you ask me.

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