Ice-cream and insights: the scoop from NACFB 2019
It’s been a fortnight since over a thousand brokers filled the hall at the NEC for the National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers’ (NACFB) annual Commercial Finance Expo. The MarketInvoice team and I were there too, discussing all things invoice finance – over tubs of the popular rolled ice cream that we served at our stand. A few rolls of honeycomb crunchie were just what we needed to forget about the unseasonably chilly weather outside.
What a great day out in Birmingham! It’s clear this event has hugely evolved since I first attended back in 2016. As well as catching up with some familiar faces and meeting many new ones, we also heard from some really interesting speakers including Lloyds Bank and NACFB CEO, Graham Toy.
The highlight for me was a session run by Shiona Davies of BVA BDRC about the latest SME Finance Monitor report. Shiona took a deep dive into the findings of the report as well as the impact they might have on lending. She also discussed the idea of a “new normal” when it comes to funding levels.
I spoke to a great deal of brokers on the day and it was interesting to hear how many of their clients are running export-led businesses. In fact, export was a hot topic of conversation, making it clear that UK SMEs are thinking big despite talk of uncertainty around Brexit.
We ran a survey throughout the day which found that 53% of brokers have seen an increase in export-led businesses seeking finance. According to our recent MarketInvoice Business Insights report, this number could increase over the next 12 months as more SMEs set their sights abroad. Our research found that 56% of business owners spanning a range of industries are planning to open offices overseas and start exporting.
Following on from this, many of the brokers I spoke to asked about the currencies that MarketInvoice is able to fund. Apart from GBP, our customers also have the option to fund USD and EUR invoices and/or to have their funds paid into USD or EUR accounts. From time to time businesses may also want to fund invoices in other currencies, which we’re happy to consider on a case-by-case basis.
Overall, it was a great event with some great conversations. We know that for many businesses, their broker is the first port of call when they need funding to kick off new projects, invest in growth and more. That’s why we partner with hundreds of commercial finance brokers to empower their clients with fast, flexible working capital solutions.