By Daniel Hunter

Almost a quarter of UK small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) applied for a loan in the past 12 months, but 1 in every 5 of these applications was rejected, according to the latest research from leading business software and services provider Sage UK.

The findings, which come from the January 2012 Sage Omnibus of over 1,000 UK SMEs, also revealed that 7 in 10 small firms make use of their business plans to measure the performance of their company, but that only 1 in 10 SMEs use their business plans to secure finance or funding. Even more concerning, the research identified that under half of all firms (42%) do not have a business plan at all.

In order to help owner-managers more accurately build sustainable growth and secure further finance or funding, Sage is providing its business planning tool Sage Planning for Business free with its flagship financial software Sage Instant Accounts 2012. Sage Planning for Business is designed to help make finance from banks and investors more accessible to SMEs, by allowing owner-managers to build upon their cash position, confidently ensure the sustainability of their firm, and easily create robust and up-to-date business plans.

“Access to finance remains one of the greatest challenges facing small businesses today," Robin Moore, Product Manager for Sage’s Small Business Division, commented.

"However, there are a number of vital things owners can do to help themselves, such as ensuring they have a fully robust and up-to-date business plan in place. By incorporating Planning for Business into Sage Instant Accounts 2012, we are aiming to help businesses more accurately plan for the future and achieve their aspirations for growth.”

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