Many business owners have approached us for assistance with emergency funding in the wake of COVID-19. Unfortunately, most of them haven't been able to take advantage of the numerous relief programmes because they couldn't collate the necessary paperwork in time.
It's unfair to expect a small business owner to be prepared for a pandemic, but poor administrative readiness is a consistent frustration when helping SMEs source funding. Most entrepreneurs underestimate the scope of work when applying for funding, particularly when approaching government agencies.
While funding applications aren't homogeneous, there is plenty of overlap. Here are some of the most common requirements:
CIPC registration documents
Memorandum of incorporation or association agreement
Annual financial statements for the last three years
Current management accounts
Debtors and creditors age analysis
12 month cash flow forecast
Bank statements for the last six months
Tax clearance certificate pin
Latest income tax return
Latest VAT return
Proof of address (e.g. recent utility bill)
IDs for all members, shareholders, and directors (and their spouses if married in community of property)
Personal statements of income, expenditure, assets and liabilities
(Bear in mind that this list is far from exhaustive. There will also be project-specific requirements, like business plans, supplier quotes, purchase orders, and tenders or contracts.)
In our experience, very few business owners can assemble all of these documents within a few days. Most will need at least a week or two, and it's not uncommon for some to give up in frustration. A good accountant can handle a lot of this for you, but many SMEs don't have particularly good accountants. And even if you do have an excellent accountant, you shouldn't assume that they'll have everything on hand.
Whether you are actively looking for funding or not, there's no sense in being unprepared. Check what your accountant has on file, maintain your own archive, and update your records at least twice a year so that you can seamlessly capitalise on funding opportunities when needed instead of scrambling frantically.