The fintech is this week opening its CBILS offering to new customers and has launched a portal for accountants to refer clients for finance.
Iwoca has hailed accountants as crucial in helping businesses apply for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and has developed a tailored portal to help ease the application process for the government-backed loans.
The fintech says that the pandemic has underscored the importance of accountants in helping SMEs apply for the CBILS, providing cash flow forecasts, financial statements and ensuring businesses have the right documentation.
Amid concern from accountants about the challenges of supporting SMEs with the CBILS process through larger lenders, such as delays in response times, iwoca has developed a portal which it says will help meet these challenges.
The initiative will work by businesses working with an iwoca relationship manager who will give regular updates to accountants and provide a decision on the application within days.
Iwoca said the approach “is particularly important for those businesses whose financial needs are too large for a Bounce Back Loan but too small to qualify for a relationship manager at their main bank”.
Iwoca, which currently works with over 1,000 accountants, is expecting a trebling of the number of accountant referrals on the back of the move.
Colin Goldstein, commercial growth director, iwoca, said: “The impact of Covid-19 means that small businesses need more financial support than ever to survive the crisis and rebuild their business."
“CBILS loans are a key part of the solution, and accountants are a key adviser and line of support for businesses applying for CBILS."
“iwoca has worked with more than 1,000 accountants nationwide to help them secure the right finance solutions for their clients, and we're now investing heavily to provide the support accountants need in securing CBILS loans for clients, in particular, small businesses who are struggling to get the support they need from the high-street banks.”
Ben Johnson, global director of financial partnerships, Xero, added: “If you’re a small business needing access to finance, you may find yourself being sent down a bit of a rabbit hole. Applying with a fintech can give you another option, and in many cases you will get a fast response and be able to share your financial information digitally."
“CBILS is a really powerful scheme that could set you up for the next couple of years of ramping your business back up, so while it’s still here I would urge businesses to explore it by speaking to an advisor, and if you do go ahead make sure you have a plan to serve the repayment of the loan.”
Della Hudson, founder, Minerva Accountants, said: “Automation is perfectly adequate when everything is going smoothly, but if there is a problem you need to be able to pick up the phone and speak to somebody.”
“This is where a lot of banks are struggling - they are barely coping with the automation in place, and haven’t even thought about the backstop of a human being. It’s nicer dealing with fintechs and the more modern banks who are able to handle both the automation and the customer relations that really makes a difference."