10 ways to improve your business credit rating
Having a good credit score is not just important to help you borrow funds. Follow our tips to improve your credit rating.
- Establish what your business credit rating is. You can pay to receive your credit report from reference checking agencies such as Equifax and Experian. The agencies offer a range of paid-for services, from basic credit reports to more detailed reports including analysis and advice on how to improve your score. Prices start at around £15.
- Pay suppliers promptly to improve your business credit rating. Your business credit rating is based on the likelihood that you will pay your bills on time. Good supplier relationships are important as agencies may approach suppliers for references.
- Avoid appearing on the Register of county court judgements. If you fail to repay debts, you could appear on the register for up to six years. Credit reference agencies will take this into account when assessing your business credit rating.
- Credit check your own customers. It is crucial to know that your customers are going to pay you promptly so that you can pay suppliers. Monitor their accounts regularly to ensure they don’t leave you short of cash. Credit check your customers.
- Give your customers clear terms and conditions. Set out realistic credit limits and payment terms for customers in initial contracts and include them on all invoices.
- Chase late payers. Set up an efficient, computerised system that flags up late payers and reminds you to chase them. The standard payment period is 30 days, after which you should consider charging late payment interest. Chase late payment service.
- Keep your filing up to date. If your firm is a limited company, the credit reference agency will mainly refer to documents you file at Companies House, so you must file regularly and update any changes in directorship. A lack of information can negatively affect your business credit rating.
- Be prepared to provide information directly to suppliers. If you are an unincorporated firm you are not legally required to register your financial information, so there will be a lack of data held by Companies House. Suppliers may ask for information directly, so ensure you have management or interim accounts and trading figures available.
- Keep your personal finances in order. Credit reference agencies can review the personal credit profile of business owners if they can’t find what they need in your business credit rating.
- Review your business’ credit rating annually. This will help ensure you are aware of any problems. If you spot anything that is inaccurate, contact the lender or credit provider with copies of documents that support your claim. You have the right to challenge incorrect information but not derogatory information that is true. (Article Ref: ICAEW)