A new initiative will ensure that SMEs can get the expert financial advice that they need to operate effectively.The Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (ICAEW) has announced that it has set up the SME Funding Adviser Scheme in response to a government initiative. The scheme will allow small businesses access to a large number of independent professional advisors to help with finances.So far, the ICAEW reports, 1,900 firms have signed up for the scheme. Each one has registered what specialist areas they can advise SMEs on. Sectors that are already covered include bank loans, overdrafts and business plans for bank and equity finance.Michael Izza, the chief executive of the ICAEW, said: "I am delighted that the Institute is the first professional body to establish this scheme. Our research shows that accountants are the most frequently consulted source of external business advice by businesses."The scheme is one of the ICAEW’s responses to a government working group’s call for there to be "widely available financial health checks" for small businesses.Indeed, the government praised the ICAEW, with Michael Snyder, the chair of the government and accountants working group, saying: "We welcome the initiative the ICAEW has shown in becoming the first professional body to become a part of the scheme."It is particularly important that SMEs are well supported by easily accessible expert advice in seeking appropriate sources of finance, especially equity finance."© Adfero Ltd

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