Firms 'spend days pondering bank accounts'

Three days is how long it may take company owners to do their research before changing bank accounts – though the short term cost may pay dividends in the long-term, new research claims.

A study for Alliance & Leicester (A&L) confirms that swapping accounts is a tough task for business, compounded by the complexity of learning new tariffs and differing rates.

But taking the time to learn about a new financial provider is recommended and can even prove critical for the smallest of companies, according to the study, reportedly obtained by The Mail.

Small business expert Francis Chittenden, who was commissioned by A&L to probe the financial market, found firms could save £3,500 a year just by changing their accounts.

Finding a bank that suits a company’s needs could even save the venture up to £41,000 over the same period, the study reportedly found.

“Checking the terms of banking arrangements is an impossible exercise,” Mr Chittenden said, “-unless business owners are prepared to take advice from experts, such as accountants, or to meet a range of banks to collect information.”

This week, the bank said that with three out of ten small firms failing after their first year, “getting the essentials right and listening to sound advice is crucial.”

To this end, the group has launched a free online guide that details business lessons and wise words from leading entrepreneurs.

Included are tips for growth; advice for running a successful business and ideas to aid the day-to-day running of a small company.

All the advice is handed down by “real small businesses…who know what it takes to drive a healthy organisation,” the bank said.

Steve Jennings, director of A&L’s business banking division, said small businesses cannot rely on business angels like the stars of Dragons’ Den, to fund their future.

“TheClever Business Habits Guide is designed to pass on wisdom from established and successful companies to newer SMEs, equipping them with the knowledge and tactics to become smarter, better businesses.”


9th November 2006

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