The banking system has changed significantly over the last few months. It is harder and harder to obtain financing. All banks say that they are looking for new credit but how many are actually writing deals. The banks are being very selective on the businesses they finance. Certain types of business such as retail, at the best of times, were difficult to finance. Banks will lend for leaseholds and new retail locations however they often will not finance the working capital needs.
It is very important that you anticipate what the bank needs in advance. For new applications, they will need a business plan, internal financial statements, external prepared financial statements. You may want to make sure that your accountant is approved with the bank. A business came to me recently to review their bookkeepers work. They thought that they were getting a bargain because the bookkeeper did not charge them very much. However, the banker would not accept their financial statements because of what looked like improperly prepared financial statements. A quick read of the financial statement highlighted many errors. Providing the bank will improper documents will not look good on you. You can always blame the bookkeeper but it was you that hired that person. You get what you pay for.
If you are looking for a bank loan, use a firm whose principals have a designation, CA, CPA, CGA, CMA for example. If they are just a bookkeeping firm, they will not add any credibility to your financial statements provided to the bank.
How much of a loan are you looking for? The higher the loan that you need for your franchise opportunity or your business opportunity, the more information you need to provide. Bankers assume the larger the loan, the more sophisticated the reporting system is. Bankers are also demanding the the opinion on the financial statements change and they want many clients to change for Notice to Reader financial statements to Review Engagement or even audit. Bankers are looking to the accountant to provide a stronger opinion on the validity of the financial statements. In difficult times, the amount of information you need to provide the banker is continuing to increase. If you do not provide the necessary information to the bank, your application will not be processed. The banks have many opportunities to look at, you need to tell them why, yours is better and worth financing.