Relationships extend range of TAEFL services

Trade and Export Finance does what its name suggests. It provides trade finance to companies wanting to import and export goods, using a variety of funding solutions. TAEFL isn’t interested, however, in just completing deals and collecting fees: it is passionate about helping SMEs grow. This is done through running a ‘thought leadership’ events programme, such as the TAEFL Roadshow to help companies export beyond the EU, and by promoting strategic partnerships designed to help SMEs.

A good example of a strategic partnership that TAEFL has developed is with BSN Associates Limited, a firm of accountants based at Oldbury in the West Midlands. A charity that needed funding was introduced to TAEFL and when they met to discuss funding options, their accountant from BSN Associates, came with them to provide expert support.

The TAEFL team was impressed by the way that Pippa Hawkes, the accountant. was giving practical help to support the charity. Sharing Pippa’s philosophy and attitude to helping clients, TAEFL has worked closely with BSN Associates for other clients.

Simple Stuff Works is a family-owned business based in Tamworth. After eighteen months trading, the company was growing rapidly and there were several opportunities for UK expansion and distribution into the USA. To achieve this breakthrough, Simple Stuff had engaged Jonathan Strassberg, an American-born lawyer qualified to act on both sides of the Atlantic.

The company’s directors, Sarah and Anna, were keen to pursue growth but had limited awareness of the level of funding they required to unlock the growth and the best source of finance. Jonathan Strassberg, who has a strategic partnership with TAEFL, suggested they met with CEO Mark Runiewicz and business development manager Victoria Davis to discuss their funding requirements.

Hands-on accountancy support

TAEFL identified at an early stage in the meeting that Simple Stuff would benefit from a ‘hands on’ accountancy firm that could work with the company to develop monthly management accounts, forecasts and cash flows; empowering the directors to make sound financial decisions. After explaining this to the company, TAEFL facilitated a meeting where BSN and Simple Stuff Works could meet.

The outcome was that BSN is now working with the directors. The goal is to determine the support required, having agreed upon a fixed monthly fee. The remit is to help tidy up the bookkeeping function, analyse historical results and project forward the growth ambitions of the company and determine the funding required to facilitate this.
Since BSN started helping with its accounts, Simple Stuff has identified that its current high street bank was able to provide appropriate funding for its needs at this stage. TAEFL has been supportive in endorsing this course of action rather than trying to drive forward its own financing solutions, as it is recognised that this is the best approach for the business.

Through promoting strategic partnerships with specialists throughout the UK, TAEFL hopes to boost SMEs by supporting them rather than simply promoting a catalogue of services. It can mean that – as on this occasion – that an account may sometimes yield no financial benefit to TAEFL. But the strategy has generated other benefits such as strengthening current relationships, building new partnerships and being of direct assistance to an SME. This is not always the case, but the overriding objective is to give support, advice and assistance to SMEs wherever possible.

As Pippa Hawkes of BSN Associates Limited noted, “Our company is proud to work closely with TAEFL on a number of strategic partnerships. This approach has been very successful and I would recommend that any small or medium business considering its funding options look to TAEFL for an initial conversation. The expertise of the team at TAEFL ensures that a fully tailored, appropriate solution is provided to the SME rather than an attempt to pigeon hole the business into a particular model.”

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