Office of Fair Trading reveals bank investigation plans

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has unveiled plans to investigate the UK’s small business banking sector for the first time in more than 10 years.

The investigation comes at a time when many small businesses are reporting issues with their banks, including the inability to access funding through loans or overdrafts. Some businesses are allegedly struggling to even open standard current accounts

A Happy Christmas for SME Owners

Almost half of UK small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are to down tools and take a break for more than a week over the Christmas period, according to a new survey by XLN Business Services.

42% plan to shut completely over the festive season, whilst 29% will be closed for between 0-2 days. This is in stark contrast to last Christmas, when less than a quarter were to shut for six or more day during the festive season.

“Concerns Around Cashflow And Late Payment Are On The Up” – Forum of Private Business

“Concerns Around Cashflow And Late Payment Are On The Up” – Forum of Private Business

Concerns around cashflow and late payment are on the up, from 33% last year to 38%, according to new research conducted by the Forum of Private Business.

The Forum also concluded that concern around access to finance also increased, from 17% to 23% this year, and the actual cost of finance, from 6% to 8%.

Invoice finance increasingly valued by smaller firms

The latest figures from the Asset Based Finance Association (ABFA) have revealed the increasing value of invoice finance to smaller businesses across the UK, as the economic recovery strengthens.

There was a 3% rise in firms with a turnover of between £0 - £500,000 utilising invoice finance facilities, such as invoice factoring or invoice discounting, over the last quarter. More than 15,000 small businesses now have asset based finance facilities, the highest figure for more than three years.

Do small businesses know how to achieve growth?

Small businesses are increasingly unclear as to how to implement effective growth strategies in an uncertain economic phase, a new report has revealed.

Close to 50% of businesses surveyed admitted that knowing how to achieve growth was a big challenge. 30% were also having difficulty defining a clear growth strategy.

Simon Littlewood, director at Growth Accelerator, said: "Knowing the best way to achieve growth is a sizeable challenge and an added pressure in changeable economic times".