The UK Government is seeking to promote growth and entrepreneurship, particularly within the small business community.
One of the main areas where small and start-up businesses require advice is in plans for expansion and, more specifically, how they plan to fund this.
Qualified accountants with experience of the issues facing entrepreneurs have the right tools to help growing businesses achieve their goals.
As a result, the government has been working with ICAS and the other professional accountancy bodies to provide a service that enables business owners to more easily identify qualified accountants who can give them the support they need to help them grow their businesses.
This service is the Business Finance Advice Scheme (BFA). Accountants who are members of the BFA will display a government-endorsed kitemark on their stationery and their office premises.
BFA partly came about as a result of a government commissioned report, which found that the range of funding opportunities available for small businesses outside the traditional sources (e.g. bank lending) was too restrictive and was acting as an impediment to growth.
It was therefore decided that a framework needed to be put in place that would provide entrepreneurs with a recognisable scheme through which they could obtain the necessary advice on how to access finance, by working with qualified professional accountants.
Members of the scheme specialise in the provision of advice in the following key areas, amongst others:
Small scale equity issues
Bank loans and overdrafts
So far, ICAS has a number of participating firms in the scheme and is aiming to grow this service.