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ICM urges urgent Government re-think on Micro-Business Plan

19 August 2011

The Institute of Credit Management (ICM) has launched a petition with Graydon UK, the commercial credit referencing agency, to prompt a Government rethink on plans to exempt micro-businesses from having to file accounts at Companies House – plans it believes will seriously hamper the economic recovery rather than encourage it.

The move follows the publication of figures from a recent survey of its 8000 Members that posed the simple question: if accounts for a potential customer wanting to place a relatively small order with you were not available at Companies House or via a Credit Reference agency, what would you do?

Nearly 37 percent said that they would not approve the order for immediate supply, reject the account and insist on cash in advance; 15 percent said they would accept the increased risk and trade anyway; and more than 48 percent said that they would ask the customer to provide financial data to support their application.

The findings support the ICM’s view that exempting micro business from filing accounts is wholly the wrong way of tackling what is a comparatively simple issue: businesses should be prepared to provide more information not less: “Without audited numbers that can be trusted, banks will not lend and suppliers will not extend credit to their customers,” says Chief Executive Philip King. “Growth will be restricted, not encouraged.”

The ICM’s survey follows similar research in June from Graydon UK that showed that 91 per cent of credit and finance professionals believe that the proposals will make it harder for small businesses to access trade credit, and that 87 per cent of respondents did not believe that the Government’s plans will help drive business growth.

“Government must stop sending mixed messages to business,” Philip concludes. “Credit fuels business – access to credit comes from greater access to information, not less – and we will lobby vigorously with Graydon UK to stop these plans from being implemented.”

Gordon Skaljak, Marketing Director, Graydon UK, believes that the Government is out of step with reality: “Few businesses would risk extending finance to another without first reviewing that business’s financials even in a benign economic environment. This is not the silver bullet the government is looking for to reduce red tape for businesses and actually risks causing not only more damage but more administrative work for SMEs if trade suppliers have to request accounts direct from SMEs themselves.”

To support the petition, go to: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/8KGN5BH