By Edward Winterton, Executive Director At Bibby Financial Services.

At Bibby Financial Services we recently conducted research with 1000 of our SME clients into how they prefer to conduct their business.

A talking point to come out of the research is that despite automatically turning to the internet for a lot of the things we do, when it comes to doing business the vast majority of SME owners prefer to look someone in the eye before signing on the dotted line.

A quarter of the businesses we spoke to said they do prefer to use the internet to look for financial information, but 76 per cent said they still prefer to discuss financial matters face-to-face with an independent financial adviser, accountant or bank manager.

It does highlight the value of personal relationships in business as the old adage that ‘people do business with people’ does seem to still bear out.

We know what a powerful tool the internet is, putting a wealth of information at our fingertips, but we believe our survey shows that when so many businesses are still nervous about the economy, they invest a great deal in personal relationships.

At Bibby Financial Services we have worked hard to build up invaluable relationships with intermediaries over the past 27 years, so it is very encouraging to see that more and more businesses are turning to sources such as accountants and IFAs for advice.

These financial professionals are not tied to one particular type of finance or product and therefore can help businesses understand the full range of options open to them, such as invoice finance.

We have found that more and more of the businesses we speak to have been advised to take up invoice finance, providing their business with a flexible form of finance, at a time when banks are not funding certain sectors or businesses.

It is particularly encouraging given invoice finance’s suitability in the current economic climate as it provides a quick release of cash against sales invoices raised to help maintain a healthy cash flow.

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