Banking on the right decision

Jono Wilson of Barnett & Turner argues that you need heavy-hitters on your side when you approach a bank with a view to getting finance for investment. When a client needs to persuade a bank to make a substantial investment in their business, I always recommend that they get their professional advisers involved at the earliest possible stage. Unless you have your accountant on board and get some support in presenting your case, there’s a danger you may end up shooting yourself in the foot.

Banks can be notoriously difficult to impress and can fall back on a tick-box mentality when it comes to deciding on finance. They’ll look at the recent figures and overheads, but can fail to take into account the bigger picture and the great opportunities that can come with investment.

In my own practice, we had a client with a good track record, but they’d been through three or four tough years for perfectly explicable reasons. This family business was looking to make a substantial investment in state-of-the-art technology. The loan was going to be large, but we could demonstrate the payback in terms of efficiency and the halving of labour costs over time.

Even with our involvement, the process of convincing the bank isn’t always easy. Different potential funders often ask for information in varying formats. Sometimes banks – despite the preparation of a detailed business case – seem as if they don’t quite ‘get’ it.

As well as a paper analysis of where the business is heading, you may need to support your pitch in other ways – a video that demonstrates the advantages of technology, for instance, and tours of the current facilities.

It’s also important to set out your stall right at the beginning. Ask the bank’s local representatives whether they are actually able to make a decision. If you know the green light will have to come from someone further up the hierarchy, politely request that they come down to your client’s site and have a face-to-face meeting.

At the end of the day, a successful request for funding is going to come from a partnership. On the one hand, there’s your expertise and knowledge about your business and market place. On the other, there’s the guidance and advice of your accountants and other advisers, who know from experience the best strategies to employ during the negotiations.

If you would like to discuss anything related to this article please do not hesitate to call Barnett & Turner on 01623 659659 or email Jonathan at