Mastering HMRC-Approved Taxonomies


 

Taxonomies are an important part of financial reporting. By acting as a blueprint for organising and sharing information electronically, they help ensure consistency and accuracy. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) of the UK has specific taxonomies for electronic report submissions. This blog discusses these taxonomies and explains why they are important.

What are Taxonomies?

Taxonomies are the dictionaries of financial reporting. They include terms and elements that help classify and define data. By using these taxonomies, businesses can tag their financial information consistently and make automatic analysis easier. This uniformity helps regulators, investors, and other stakeholders to compare and understand financial reports easily. Taxonomies are regularly updated to reflect changes in the accounting standards.

HMRC and UK Taxonomies

HMRC, the UK’s tax authority, requires businesses to use certain taxonomies when submitting financial statements electronically. These taxonomies are part of the Inline eXtensible Business Reporting Language (iXBRL) framework.

Since 1 April 2011, companies in the UK have been mandated to submit their company tax returns using the iXBRL format. The list of XBRL taxonomy accepted by HMRC is as follows:

Corporation Tax Computational Taxonomies

These taxonomies help businesses tag and report their financial data specifically for corporation tax calculations.

 

Taxonomy Version

Accounting Period Start Date

Accounting Period End Date

Corporation Tax Computational 2014

1 April 2012

31 March 2016

Corporation Tax Computational 2015

1 April 2015

31 March 2017

Corporation Tax Computational 2016

1 April 2015

31 March 2018

Corporation Tax Computational 2017

1 April 2015

31 March 2019

Corporation Tax Computational 2018

1 April 2015

31 March 2020

Corporation Tax Computational 2019

1 April 2015

31 March 2021

Corporation Tax Computational 2020

1 April 2015

31 March 2022

Corporation Tax Computational 2021

1 April 2015

31 March 2024

Corporation Tax Computational 2023

1 April 2015

31 March 2025

Corporation Tax Computational 2024

1 April 2015

To be advised

 

Financial Reporting Council (FRC) Accounts Taxonomies

The FRC accounts taxonomies assist businesses in preparing and submitting financial statements.

 

Taxonomy Version

Accounting Period Start Date

Accounting Period End Date

FRC 2014 Taxonomy

1 April 2008

31 March 2021

FRC 2018 Taxonomy

1 April 2008

31 March 2021

FRC 2019 Taxonomy

1 April 2015

31 March 2022

FRC 2019 SECR Taxonomy

1 April 2019

31 March 2022

FRC 2021 Taxonomy

1 April 2015

31 March 2024

FRC 2021 SECR Taxonomy

1 April 2019

31 March 2024

FRC 2022 Taxonomy

1 April 2015

31 March 2025

FRC 2023 Taxonomy

1 April 2015

To be advised

FRC 2024 Taxonomy

1 April 2015

To be advised

 

Detailed Profit and Loss Section Taxonomies

These taxonomies focus on the details of profit and loss statements. They provide a clear way to tag items like revenue, expenses, and net profit.

 

Taxonomy Version

Accounting Period Start Date

Accounting Period End Date

FRC DPL

1 April 2008

31 March 2021

FRC 2018 DPL

1 April 2015

31 March 2021

FRC 2019 DPL

1 April 2015

31 March 2022

FRC 2021 DPL

1 April 2015

31 March 2024

 

Non-UK Taxonomies Accepted by HMRC

Currently, HMRC only accepts accounts tagged with a non-UK taxonomy if it is US GAAP. However, they may add more taxonomies in the future. If there is no matching taxonomy for the accounting standard used, or if HMRC’s online service does not accept the taxonomy, companies must submit the accounts as a PDF file.

The taxonomy versions accepted for all sectors include the following:

  1. US GAAP 2015
  2. US GAAP 2016
  3. US GAAP 2017
  4. US GAAP 2018
  5. US GAAP 2021
  6. US GAAP 2022
  7. US GAAP 2023

Bottom Line

iXBRL makes financial reporting easier and more accurate by combining human-readable and machine-readable data into one document. It streamlines the submission process, improves data accuracy, and boosts transparency.

Looking for a trusted partner to navigate this process seamlessly? DataTracks can be your right choice! With expertise in  iXBRL tagging, we ensure your financial reports comply with HMRC standards. Our team has 19+ years of experience in preparing over 400,000 error-free reports for more than 28,000 clients. So what are you waiting for? Contact us [email protected] or +44 (20) 3608 8035.

 

 

 

 



Finance

General election 2024: What SMEs need to know


Major change is predicted, so make sure your business is ready for upheaval.

The business environment has been buffeted by change in the last few years: Covid and remote working, digital transformation and supply chain issues, Brexit, cost of living and volatile interest rates… Businesses that have survived through the last five years are businesses that can accommodate radical change.

Often change comes with little or no warnings. The impending election, however, may be one change that has been flagged clearly in advance. With so many poll predictions of a landslide for Labour, a win for the incumbent Conservatives would be the least-predicted change of all. 

With a majority Labour government predicted with 99 percent probability by Electoral Calculus at the time of writing, this is the most likely outcome of the general election. 

What will a Labour government mean for your business?

Tax burdens and breaks

Incoming governments will always mean a mixed bag of pros and cons for SMEs but there are reasons to be optimistic. 

SMEs which suffer from slow or late payers could be about to get new legislation which will help them fight against unpaid invoices. 

Labour has also said they will replace business rates with a fairer system which will rebalance the advantage of online businesses. 

And after accusations of cronyism during Covid, Labour has promised SMEs will have a fairer chance of winning lucrative public contracts with shortlisting guaranteed for smaller firms. 

The big question is around Brexit: Labour says that they will “remove the barriers to export”, but without a seat at the table with the EU which sets the rules, it’s unclear how this will be achieved. Expect to see a big effort to renegotiate terms with our nearest trading partners. 

Cost of employing staff 

Employment legislation may be one of the big downsides for SMEs as employing staff could become more expensive. Labour has published a Green Paper on employment rights and said that they will be introducing legislation on “making work pay” within their first 100 days of government. Here’s what the Green Paper has outlined: 

  • New staff rights: Employees will have protection against unfair dismissal from their very first day on the job, not after two years. Employers will have to provide more for things such as maternity leave, sick pay and bereavement, plus employees will be entitled to statutory sick pay and parental leave from day one.
  • Fairness and transparency: Employers can still let staff go for performance, conduct, or downsizing, but they’ll need to be more upfront about the rules during the probation period.
  • Conflict resolution: Employees will have six months to make a claim, instead of three. 
  • Minimum wage increase: It’s likely that there will be an increase in the minimum wage. This may have long-term impact on inflation but in the short term, your wage bill may go up. 
  • Work-Life Balance: Employers will be expected to have a policy about contacting staff outside work hours. 
  • Zero hours contracts: After 12 weeks, employees will have the right to a contract that reflects the hours they actually work.

Labour plans to introduce a new enforcement body to make sure everyone’s rights are respected, including minimum wage and protection from discrimination.

What will happen to RLS?

The government has already wound down the old RLS (recovery loan scheme) which proved to be one of the most effective and successful ways of helping businesses recover from the Covid pandemic. The intention is to replace the RLS with the Growth Guarantee Scheme from 1 July. 

Hopefully, the GGS – or something much like it – will survive into a Labour government. Labour have long promised that they will deliver “better access to finance” specifically for SMEs. Government-backed loans have been so effective at providing this, with the government able to target industries and sectors most in need of help, at Swoop we think restrictive changes to the existing scheme are unlikely.  

Conclusion

Labour will be very cautious about what they say before the election if they think it will lose them votes. We should expect major changes to happen in the early days of government, however, as the incoming team puts their stamp on things (and gets any potentially unpopular legislation in early). 

Broadly, SMEs which employ a large number of people will have to be ready for a hefty wage bill. Businesses which have run into problems with late payments will have more power in negotiations. And there may be more opportunities for SMEs with public contracts and exports – though how this will be achieved is still open to question.

If you want to find out how this affects your business get in touch today or read more in the article written by our CEO, Andrea Reynolds



Finance

Commercial mortgage landscape in 2024: What to expect?


How commercial mortgages have changed compared to 2023

Successful moves in business are tough to call: for every example of the wisdom of following the crowd, there is another story of the benefits that come when you buck a trend. 

If you’ve been put off purchasing property because financial news from the last 12-18 months have been all about the turmoil in the financial markets, you’re not alone. But if you have been deliberately keeping your powder dry, there may be real benefits to getting back to the property market before the rest of the pack wakes up and rushes in. 

It’s not just that interest rates are coming down (though that will be a major factor for many business owners); signs are that a new period of stability is upon us – and that means more confidence from borrowers and lenders alike.

In this blog, we are going to look at the factors that should affect your decision about whether or not to get a commercial mortgage. While property ownership is a long-term good idea for most businesses, the exact time of entry to the market could be crucial – and this will help you decide. 

High street banks

In the last six months, we’ve seen the lending appetite of high street banks bounce back: we’ve heard that one of the largest lenders in the SME market is aiming to increase lending volumes by 20 percent in 2024.

Yes, the big banks are naturally more conservative than challenger banks in the market, but we are finding that, even among the biggest names, competition is hotting up. This competition means that margins are coming down – Swoop recently secured outline terms for a commercial mortgage at just 1.09% above base rate.

Does this mean that great deals on commercial mortgages are growing on trees? Not necessarily, as there is high demand from SMEs and the banks will be offering the most favourable terms to the lowest risk deals. 

How can you turn this situation to your advantage? By engaging a finance broker, you will improve your position as we will seek to de-risk your deal and create the strongest possible narrative for your business. Result? You get the best deal available – whoever the lender may be. 

Lender appetite

In terms of appetite, the big banks lag behind challenger banks and specialist lenders which are armed with AI-powered risk assessment and nimble business models. But the big banks have been learning from the upstarts and many have implemented a more enthusiastic attitude towards lending. 

While the divide between traditional and challenger banks has blurred, in general these are the advantages the more modern lenders have: 

  • Faster response times, faster underwriting
  • More flexible, especially for early-stage businesses, and those who require higher loan-to-asset ratios (in some cases, up to 75 percent)
  • A better choice of structures, including interest only mortgages

While these loans have often been more expensive, challengers have reduced their margins in recent months in response to renewed pricing on offer from high street banks.

Brokers seeking funding on behalf of their clients are able to add a great deal of value. Swoop has entry points to the market that customers may not have themselves. Even if you have a good relationship with your bank, you may not be able to access deals as favourable as those available to brokers, whether this be in respect of the terms available or the level of borrowing

Rather than settle for what is available, your broker should put you in a position where lenders are vying for your business.

Interest rates

The cost of borrowing associated with a commercial mortgage will typically be made up of the base rate (Bank of England base rate currently 5.25 percent) plus the lender’s margin. The margin has tended to be higher for commercial mortgages (compared to personal mortgages) and typical ranges are between 2.25 percent and 4 percent. 

In the short term, renewed competition from the banks, is putting a squeeze on the margin and in the medium term Bank of England Base Rate is widely speculated to begin falling later in 2024

At Swoop, we have already been able to negotiate much lower fixed rates as lenders are passing on a fall in the cost of wholesale funds. We have been particularly successful with five year fixed-term mortgages. So, if you don’t want to wait for a gradual easing of pricing in most cases we can secure a competitive fixed rate today.

The variable factor in most cases is the lender margin: lower rates are typically available to borrowers depending on risk factors.If you have a strong trading history and well managed cashflow, your broker will be able to negotiate a better deal.

By using Swoop, you will be able to check your options as not all rates will be open to all customers. As a Swoop customer, you would have full visibility of your options and have a strong team of negotiators able to deploy a number of funding approaches that will add up to the right choice for your business. 

With the right broker on your side, now could be the perfect time to make a property purchase. 

Is now the time to get a commercial mortgage?

Despite a slow down in the market, Swoop has grown our commercial mortgage team over the last few years, simply because for some businesses, owning property makes sense – whatever the rest of the world is doing. In a challenging market, Swoop has been able to add a huge amount of value to our customers. 

A commercial mortgage can do more than buy your property: it can also consolidate your business’s existing debts into a lower-interest product. This frees up cashflow that you can reinvest, allowing you to expand your operations, hire new employees, or invest in new equipment.

In an inflationary environment, owning real estate can act as a hedge against rising costs. On a fixed rate, your monthly mortgage payment will stay the same, while the value of your property is likely to increase.

Owning your own property gives you greater control over your business space. You can make renovations, decorate as you please, and even sublet unused space to generate additional income.

The commercial real estate market is improving in many areas. If you purchase property now, you could see its value increase significantly over time, building equity for your business in the long term.

With more lenders looking for your business, you’re likely to get more favourable terms and conditions on your loan. This means you can potentially secure a lower interest rate, longer loan term, or lower fees.

Start your application with Swoop

The award-winning commercial mortgage team at Swoop is ready to help you make the next step in property. Get in touch now to speak to our team about your options and join our delighted customers. 



Finance

Interest rates are coming down: Time to refinance?


Getting the right deal could free up more cash where you need it

For many businesses, their borrowing is a patchwork of products. Interest rates have been high which makes borrowing expensive, and prudent business owners have been careful not to overstretch themselves by borrowing more than they need. 

At Swoop, we also advocate looking at some of the niche and specialist borrowing products on the market which could suit the needs of businesses better than a traditional unsecured loan. 

With interest rates falling, however, consolidating all those debts into one loan at a lower rate can achieve two things: first, it can simplify your outgoings by putting all your debts onto a single line of the accounts; second, it could save you money and free up capital for other projects. 

Ed Brown, Commercial Funding Manager at Swoop, says that consolidating outstanding debt within a property purchase (or remortgage) is becoming more attractive as the market shifts: 

“Lender appetite has really bounced back recently with some banks pledging to increase the number of commercial mortgages they agree by as much as 20 percent. Even during the uncertainty of the last couple of years, property ownership has made sense for some, but as interest rates go down, we are likely to see more businesses exploring this as an affordable and desirable option.”

Lower interest rates affect the whole market, not just commercial mortgages. And with the boom in challenger banks and digital first products, the battle for market share is getting more fierce – with lenders often prepared to squeeze their margin rather than lose a potential customer. For businesses wishing to consolidate existing borrowing into a single loan product, this is good news: there are lenders willing to be flexible and offer competitive prices to customers.

What are the advantages of restructuring your debt?

First, see much more clearly how much debt is costing your business. This enables you to make plans, much more easily, knowing exactly how much money he will have in your account.

Restructuring your debt with a lower interest rate will also enable you to save money, or you might opt to repay over a longer term – which will give you better cash flow day-to-day. 

If you make the right decision, you can find yourself with simplified accounts, and more money in your pocket.

Ed Brown says:

“It pays to know your options. The fact is that there are more lenders looking for your business than ever before. You can leverage their appetite to push for a lower interest rate, longer loan term, or reduced fees.”

If you are thinking about restructuring your borrowing but aren’t sure where to start, get in touch: Swoop’s friendly experts will help you reduce your costs, get the best deal possible and achieve your financial goals.



Finance

Spring budget 2024: All you need to know


Everything you need to know about the budget – at a glance

In what is likely to be his last budget, the Chancellor gave us a statement that was business-lite, preferring to concentrate his limited fiscal headroom on initiatives that will reward individuals (better known as voters). The few benefits and incentives for UK SMEs were either minimal, extensions of extensions, or relied on projections that may not come to pass.

Executive summary:

The Spring ‘24 budget was ‘Going for Growth – the Sequel’, in which the Chancellor offered a repeat of his Autumn tax cut to individuals, extended long-standing alcohol and fuel duty freezes, maintained the windfall tax on energy producers, and revisited the Government’s existing reliance on investment zones and cash incentives for targeted industries to jump start productivity.

It remains to be seen if these initiatives can deliver the growth that the UK needs, as small and medium sized businesses were largely left out of the budget equation – a major error when 99.9% of the business population is concentrated in these groups – leaving many business experts saying that this budget was more political theatre than real economic policy, a carrot for potential voters, and not a realistic plan to rebuild the nation’s productivity and prosperity.

Why is this?

The Chancellor made great show of cuts to personal National Insurance Contributions, raising the threshold for the clawback of Childcare Benefits, championing innovation zones, lifting the VAT threshold and promising to expand full expensing to cover leased assets.

The reality is less rosy: few of these measures will make life easier or better for UK SMEs. Cuts to personal taxes do not necessarily make workers work longer or harder. Cutting childcare benefit penalties is unlikely to encourage many parents to return to work. Innovation zones generally favour large corporations. The lift in the VAT threshold was too small and will still be almost £20k short of where it should be if it had matched inflation since 2017. The expansion of Full Expensing will only occur when fiscal headroom is available – which could be never.

All in all, there were few things to cheer small business owners here. The rise in NLW which lands in workers’ pockets in April, the loss of business rates relief for 220,000 businesses, inflation still twice as high as the BOE target and the problems of Brexit still unfolding are more likely to have SMEs attention.

Kevin Fitzgerald, Managing Director at recruitment firm Employment Hero summed the budget up well: “No rabbits under the Chancellor’s hat today, in what was a frustrating Budget for leaders of small and medium sized businesses. Whilst it is right that the Government focuses on initiatives that will help individuals and household budgets during the current cost of living crisis, the Chancellor has provided little support for SMEs by way of meaningful tax cuts and investment for growth.”

His comments were echoed by Bruce Cartwright. Chief Executive, The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland. “The Chancellor has again failed to offer enough support for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs), which make up 99.9% of UK businesses and are the life blood of the economy.”

Meanwhile: GDP per capita has hovered around 1% for most of the last 15 years…

…and is set to be negative until 2025. Which leaves strong doubts over whether yesterday’s budget can deliver the growth the UK needs.

If you want to learn more about the spring budget 2024, watch our insightful webinar where our founders discuss the impact this budget will have on SMEs.



Finance

Why did my credit score drop: 6 possible reasons


Understanding the dynamics of credit scores can often feel like navigating through a maze, with each turn influenced by various financial decisions and behaviours. For financial advisors and brokers, you’re expected to demystify this journey for your clients, providing them with the clarity and guidance needed to maintain or improve their financial health.

Here at Swoop, we recognise the importance of a healthy credit score in securing loans and funding options. We’ll help identify the common reasons behind a drop in credit scores, underscoring the pivotal role such insights play in crafting effective investment strategies. Through Swoop Funding’s lens, we aim to illuminate the path for finance professionals, enabling them to leverage our platform’s unique opportunities to benefit their clients.

Let’s unpack the factors that can influence credit score fluctuations and how understanding these can be a game-changer in the financial landscape.

What makes up your credit score?

Your credit score is composed of five separate categories with different weights. Some affect your score more than others.

  1. Payment history (35%)
  2. Amounts owed (30%)
  3. Length of credit history (15%)
  4. New credit (10%)
  5. Credit mix (10%)


Alt text: pie-chart-showing-the-five-FICO-scoring-categories-and-percentages

6 Reasons why your credit score has dropped

A credit score is a dynamic metric that reflects your financial reliability. Its fluctuations can impact your ability to access various financial products. For clients navigating the complexities of their financial journey, understanding the reasons behind a credit score decline is crucial.

This knowledge not only empowers them but also enables financial advisors and brokers to provide targeted advice and solutions. We will explore the following common factors contributing to a decrease in credit scores:

  • You have late or missing payments
  • You recently applied for a mortgage, loan, or new credit card
  • Your credit utilisation has increased
  • One of your credit limits decreased
  • You closed a credit card
  • There is inaccurate information on your credit report

1. You have late or missing payments

Implications: Payment history is a large component of your credit score (35%). Late payments not only reflect poorly on your financial responsibility but also signal risk to future lenders. The impact of a late payment can vary based on how late the payment is, how often you’ve been late, and how recent the late payment was.

Practical Steps: Set up automatic payments for regular bills to avoid oversight. If you face financial hardship, contact your creditors before a missed or late payment to discuss possible adjustments to your payment schedule or temporary relief options. Making a payment before 30 days past due can prevent it from being reported to the credit bureaus.

2. You recently applied for a mortgage, loan, or new credit card

Implications: Each hard inquiry from a credit application can slightly reduce your credit score. The hit of a “new credit inquiry” can stay on your profile for two years before no longer showing as new. The rationale is that seeking new credit could indicate financial instability or an increased risk that you will overextend yourself.

Practical Steps: Only apply for new credit when necessary. Use lenders’ pre-approval processes to gauge your eligibility for credit cards or loans without impacting your credit score. Space out applications every two years if possible to minimise the cumulative impact of hard inquiries. This includes auto loans, personal loans, and credit cards.

3. Your credit utilisation has increased

Implications: Credit utilisation—how much credit you’re using compared to your total available credit—is also a pivotal factor, illustrating your dependency on credit. A sudden spike in utilisation can alarm creditors, suggesting a change in your financial stability or risk profile.

Practical Steps: Pay more than the minimum payment on credit cards to gradually reduce balances. If possible, make multiple payments throughout the month to keep balances low. Monitor your credit card statements closely and adjust your spending habits to keep utilisation in check.

4. One of your credit limits decreased

Implications: Creditors may lower credit limits based on their risk assessment, which can unfavourably affect your credit utilisation ratio. Sometimes, this happens without warning and for reasons outside your direct financial behaviour, such as economic downturns or changes in the lender’s policies.

Practical Steps: Regularly review your credit limits and speak with your creditors if you notice a decrease. Maintaining a good relationship with them and demonstrating financial stability can sometimes persuade them to reconsider their decision. Alternatively, paying down balances can help manage your utilisation ratio.

5. You closed a credit card

Implications: The rule of thumb is to never close a credit card because it hurts more than it helps. Closing a credit card account reduces your overall available credit and can shorten your credit history, particularly if you close an old account. This can inadvertently increase your credit utilisation ratio and remove a history of on-time payments from your credit report.

Practical Steps: If you must close an account, try to pay down balances on other cards to mitigate the impact on your utilisation ratio. Also, keep an eye on credit cards you haven’t used in a while, the issuer may close your account for you which can have the same effect as closing a card yourself.

6. There is inaccurate information on your credit report

Implications: Errors on your credit report, such as incorrect late payments, fraudulent accounts, or identity theft, can unjustifiably lower your credit score. These inaccuracies can stem from clerical errors, misreported information, or more sinister activities like fraud.

Practical Steps: Review your credit reports regularly from major credit bureaus. If you find inaccuracies, file disputes with each bureau online or by mail, providing documentation to support your claim. Follow up on your disputes to ensure corrections are made.

What is considered a good or bad credit score?

Generally, good credit is anything over 700. Average credit is between 600 and 700, anything below 600 is poor but this can vary.

  • A score of 670 to 739 is considered “good,” indicating a borrower that lenders are likely to view as dependable.
  • Scores from 740 to 799 are deemed “very good,” showing better lending terms and lower interest rates are likely.
  • A score of 800 and above falls into the “exceptional” category, which can lead to the most favourable borrowing terms.

A credit score below 670 begins to enter the “fair” or even “poor” categories, which can make it more difficult to qualify for favourable credit terms. Scores in these lower ranges might lead to higher interest rates or the need for a co-signer when applying for loans.

How to improve your credit score

Improving your credit score is a strategic process that requires consistent effort and financial discipline. By understanding the factors that influence your credit score, you can take targeted actions to enhance it. Here are key strategies to consider:

  1. Pay your bills on time: Your payment history is a significant factor in your credit score. Late payments can negatively affect your score, so ensure you pay all your bills, including credit cards, loans, and utilities, on time. Setting up automatic payments or reminders can help you stay on track.
  2. Reduce your credit utilisation ratio: This ratio measures how much of your available credit you’re using and is a critical factor in credit scoring models. It’s recommended to keep your credit utilisation below 30% of your total credit limit. You can achieve this by paying down existing balances and avoiding large purchases on credit.
  3. Keep old credit accounts open: The length of your credit history contributes to your credit score. By keeping older accounts open and active, you demonstrate a longer history of responsible credit use. Closing old accounts can shorten your credit history and potentially lower your score.
  4. Limit new credit inquiries: Every time you apply for a new line of credit, a hard inquiry is made to your credit report, which can temporarily lower your score. Limit the number of new credit applications, especially within a short time frame, to avoid negative impacts.
  5. Diversify your credit mix: Having a mix of credit types (e.g., credit cards, auto loans, and mortgages) can positively affect your score, as it shows you can manage different types of credit responsibly. However, it’s not advisable to take on new credit unnecessarily, just to improve your credit mix.
  6. Check your credit reports for errors: Inaccuracies on your credit reports can negatively impact your score. Regularly review your reports from major credit bureaus for any errors or discrepancies and dispute them promptly to have them corrected.
  7. Seek professional help if needed: If you’re struggling to manage your debt or improve your credit score, consider consulting with a reputable credit counselling service. They can offer personalised advice and help you develop a plan to improve your financial situation.

How Swoop can help

Throughout this article, we’ve explored the dynamics of credit scores, their impact on financial opportunities, and strategies for improvement. For financial advisors and brokers, integrating Swoop Funding into your toolkit can significantly enhance your ability to support clients in these areas.

Swoop offers innovative financial solutions, from loans to savings options, tailored to protect and grow businesses. By leveraging our smart matching technology and accessing expert advice, you can navigate the complexities of finance with confidence. Hit the “get started” tab and unlock these opportunities to help drive your clients towards financial success.



Finance

R&D: Why it pays to work with Swoop


Getting to grips with your R&D tax credits can unlock funding solutions for the whole of your business

R&D tax credits seem like a niche concern, but for businesses that are seeking to make a claim based on the work they have done, Swoop’s R&D team could mean more than just a quickly-completed application. It’s also a great place to access the expertise of the whole company to help improve your cash flow.

Why does Swoop have an R&D team?

In the early days, Swoop referred customers to accountants and to R&D claims specialists. But we began to realise that accountants were growing less keen to handle R&D, while the specialists weren’t able to grasp the benefits of looking at a customer’s wider funding needs. Customers also voiced their frustration at the time that it took to get claims to the submission stage; as a tech business, we knew we could improve turnaround times and make the whole process less painful.

Swoop’s in-house team was born. By offering an R&D tax credit service as part of our integrated offering across business funding, grants, and equity finance, we knew we could work more closely with a customer as we would have a much broader view of their overall needs in mind …and customers could find solutions in one place. As for the speed of claims, we aim to have your application submitted within two weeks of receiving the documentation we need.

How does Swoop handle your claim?

Step one: Swoop will get a full understanding of your business activities with the aim of maximising your claim. We’ll take into account the latest guidelines and HMRC’s enhanced due diligence

Step two: Swoop will connect you to other sources of funding that your business may require: we have over 500 grants on our database at any given time, plus the full market of finance products and a network of VCs and investors looking for opportunities.

Step three: Your business finances are boosted with the capital it needs to grow and you have an unrivalled range of financial products and services at your fingertips to take you into the future.

Case study #1: Swoop speeds through a claim worth £30,000

A food and beverage business approached Swoop on 30th of January 2024. Swoop’s experts explained that they could still claim tax credits for the year 2020-2021 due to the two year limitation period.

If the deadline had been passed, the client would not have been able to claim back £30,000 from HMRC.

Swoop compiled the calculation and technical report within 8 hours, and submitted the claim hours before January 31 deadline. On 26th of February, the customer received confirmation that the claim had been processed and that the money would be credited to their account.

Swoop is now preparing documents for the customer’s 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 claims.

Case study #2: Attention to detail boosts the customer’s claim

Another food and beverage client, with a history of successful R&D claims, asked Swoop to review their calculations. The team found almost £80,000 of additional claimable costs.

While the customer’s 2021 claim was still under review by HMRC, the 2022 claim was passed thanks to Swoop’s more robust, transparent and compliant application.

Swoop’s additional service came into play when the customer needed extra funding support. An R&D advance gave the customer a cash injection in advance of the HMRC payout.

At Swoop, we don’t just provide an efficient R&D service; we’re also here to support businesses across all of their needs.

By going through Swoop, you get:

  • A claims service integrated into a wider funding offering
  • Full access to grants based on your sector and location
  • The full suite of Swoop solutions to your business’s needs
  • A likely improvement in your credit score, giving you more choice over your funding options
  • Access to R&D advances from our approved lenders who can lend up to 80% of the payout against current or future claims
  • Assistance in structuring your financials to maximise your claim
  • Quick turnaround time – just two weeks from Swoop receiving the documents, we will submit the claim to HMRC.

If you have ambitions for your business to deliver maximum profitability, become more financially efficient or need to boost your cash flow, Swoop can help you make it happen. Speak to an R&D expert today.



Finance

How to find angel investors: Top things to look for


If you’re looking for investment in your business, whether you’re just starting out or planning to expand, an angel investor is one potential option to explore.

Beyond simply investing in your business, angel investors can also bring a wealth of experience that could prove invaluable to your business.

This guide explains everything you need to know about finding angel investors for your business.

What are angel investors?

Angel investors, or business angels as they are also called, are high-net worth individuals who are looking to invest in startup or early-stage businesses. In return for their investment, they receive a share of the company’s equity.

Some angel investors will choose to invest alone, while others will be part of an angel syndicate (a group of angel investors).

An angel investor usually has experience in business and will often have skills, knowledge and networks that can add value to your business and help it succeed.

What should you look for in an angel investor?

Primarily, you want to find an angel investor with the right amount of cash to invest. But there are also a number of other important factors you need to consider. These include:

Industry experience

Firstly, you’ll want your angel investor to have experience in the specific industry you work in. This means they’ll understand the challenges you’re likely to face and will hopefully have the skills required to take your business from strength to strength, as well as fill in the gaps you have in your own skillset.

Investing experience

Finding a business angel who has invested in businesses before, rather than choosing a first-time investor, is another important consideration. This means they’ll have a better understanding of how the process works and might be able to offer more valuable expertise. Take a look at their previous investments and how they worked out to help you establish what’s best for you.

Financial stability

You’ll also want your angel investor to be a high-net worth individual who can easily offer you the funding you need. It’s important to know that investing this money won’t cause them any financial difficulty in the future as this can put unnecessary stress on your business.

What’s more, it can be worth checking whether they are likely to have funds available for future rounds if things go well as this will give you longer-term support.

Mentorship ability

An angel investor should also be able to act as an advisor, helping to guide you through the world of starting up and running a business and offering support in times of need. Just be aware that not all investors will be happy to offer advice, so it’s worth checking this as part of your search.

 

How to find angels

Social media

Social media can be your friend when it comes to looking for angel investors. Twitter, in particular, can be a great way to connect with potential investors. To get started, you’ll need to explain what your business is hoping to achieve and talk about the current journey you’re on to build your company. Doing this can help you to gain a following on social media which, in turn, can make it easier to connect with investors.

Networking events

Another great option is to attend networking events where you’re likely to meet people in your industry and hopefully people with money to invest. Look around your local area and nearby cities that host big events to see what’s most suitable. Local startup and entrepreneur community events, pitching events and industry talks can be good options.

Friends & family

You might also be able to get investment from close friends or family members. If they have a lump sum of cash they are willing to invest in your business, this can save you a lot of time and effort. However, remember that if things go wrong, your relationship can quickly turn sour, so it’s crucial that all parties are aware of the risks and know where they stand.

Online

There are numerous options when it comes to finding angel investors online. To start your search, it’s worth exploring the following:

AngelList

AngelList is a popular website for startups to look for investors. It mostly aims to serve tech startups and many businesses also use it to hire staff.

To get listed in the directory, you’ll need to build a company profile and a personal profile, which will help you to gain exposure.

Angel capital association

The Angel Capital Association is a group of more than 15,000 accredited angel investors who have entrepreneurial experience and invest more than $650 million in early stage capital each year.

Gust

Gust is another angel investor network and has a directory of thousands of different startups and accredited investors. Once you’ve created a profile, you’ll be able to find out how much you can raise, which investors to target and how to improve your venture.

ACF Investors

ACF Investors is a venture capital firm that manages the Angel CoFund. This works alongside syndicates of angel investors to help early stage, high-growth UK businesses.

UK Business Angels Association

The UK Business Angels Association (UKBAA) is a UK-based angel and early-stage investment organisation with more than 650 members who invest more than £2.3 billion a year.

Angel Investment Network

The Angel Investment Network brings together businesses looking for investment and investors with the capital, contacts and knowledge to help them succeed. It has more than 300,000 angel investors worldwide. To sign up, you’ll need to create a pitch and this will then be listed on the site for prospective investors to evaluate.

How to decide which angel investor is right for your business

Once you’ve carried out some initial research, made some connections and found some potential angel investors to give you the required funding, you’ll need to work out which investor is the best choice for you. The steps below can help you with this:

Get references

Some startups prefer to only work with accredited investors as they know they’ll be working with someone with previous investment experience. But whether you choose to go down this route, or look for an individual investor, it’s crucial that you get suitable references so that you can be confident of success.

Review case studies and experience

It’s important to find out about a potential business angel’s past investments, including who they worked with and how successful their investment was. Doing so can help you to understand how they approach the process and how they are likely to work with you in the future.

It can take up to six months to find the right investor, so it’s important to be as thorough as possible when doing your research and assessing your options.

Interview the investor

You should also treat any calls you have with potential investors as an interview. Make sure you have a list of questions to ask each time and take notes during the calls so that you can easily refer back to what’s been said.

It’s important that your investor can buy into your vision and you’ll need to discuss whether they want to invest and act as a silent partner, or whether they are happy to be more involved and act as an advisor based on their previous experience.

As part of the selection process, it’s also good to talk about the goals you both have to see if you are aligned. This should include the amount of money needed and the investment timeframe – your angel will want to have a potential exit strategy so it’s important that you discuss this early on.

How Swoop can help

If you’re an early-stage business looking to raise funds, Swoop has an array of services to help you get the funding you deserve, from SEIS, stress-free pitch deck creation and more.

Speak with an equity finance specialist by registering with Swoop today.



Finance

How to find investors for your business in the UK


Get capital from family & friends

A good place for an early-stage business to start might be to ask any friends or family members if they are willing to invest in your company or loan you a lump sum. A loan might be easier to set up as all you need to do is agree to repay it over a set term, with interest added on top. Interest rates can be significantly lower than if you borrowed from a bank or another lender, and it can be a quicker process too.

Alternatively, if you go down the investment route, your friends or family would hold a stake in your company. This means you wouldn’t need to repay them anything as your investors would only get money if your company becomes profitable. On the flipside, if your business is not successful, your investors could lose money.

Whichever option you choose, it’s crucial to draw up an official written agreement so that there are no misunderstandings. If you go for the investment option, it’s important to highlight the risks, while if you’re borrowing through a loan, you need to state what happens if you can’t make your repayments. 

Seek private investors

Private investors are individuals who are willing to invest their own money into your business. In return they usually receive shares in the company and can have a say in how its run. 

There are two main types of private investors – angel investors and venture capitalists.

Angel investors, or business angels, are high net worth individuals who have the money to invest into a business. They usually prefer to invest in startups and early stage businesses.  However, they will need to be confident of your business’ success, so you will need to have a solid business plan and be able to show that your business has high growth potential. 

Read more: our guide on finding angel investors.

Angel investors are usually experienced entrepreneurs which means that as well as offering funding, they can also offer their own skills, expertise and contacts which can be invaluable to a new business. 

Venture capitalists, on the other hand, don’t invest their own money, but that of investors. They do this by setting up a fund that is used for others to buy shares in the company. Although they can help startups, they usually invest in businesses that are already established and are looking to expand or launch a new product or service. 

Venture capitalists usually invest larger sums compared to angel investors – a few million in some cases. The return on investment is typically much higher too. 

Read more: our guide on finding VC funding.

Contact similar businesses or schools in your field

If you know people in a similar line of business to yours, it can be worth contacting them to see if they know of anyone who might be interested in investing in your company. 

Be aware, however, that this can be quite a drawn out process, as you might need to contact several people or even attend industry-related events to network and expand your pool of potential investors.  

Another option is to look at schools offering diplomas or degrees in your area of work. Some of the professors who teach there might be willing to put you in touch with some of the guests they invite to speak on certain subjects. If they can set up an introduction for you, this could be another opportunity for investment.

Look to crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is another potential option to explore. It enables businesses to collect money from a number of people (‘the crowd’) via online platforms. There are several different types of crowdfunding platforms, as outlined below:

Reward-based crowdfunding

With this type of crowdfunding, investors are asked for relatively small sums of money and in return, they receive a reward. This is often a product or service offered by the business. For example, if your business makes clothing, everyone who invests a certain amount might receive a branded t-shirt. Rewards could also include exclusive invitations to events. 

Donation-based crowdfunding

In this case, any money given is not expected back. Donations are usually for relatively small amounts and the money generated is usually for a project. For example, it might be to give to families who have experienced a loss or a community that needs medical support. 

GoFundMe is an example of a donation-based crowdfunding platform, where the family of a person diagnosed with cancer, for example, might start a campaign to raise money for specialised treatment. 

Debt-based crowdfunding

Debt-based crowdfunding is also known as peer-to-peer lending. Here, you receive money in the form of a loan from a large number of private investors, which could be individuals or businesses. 

Peer-to-peer lending matches those with money to lend with those who want to borrow. Because it removes the need for financial institutions such as banks, interest rates tend to be better for borrowers, while investors generally earn a higher return than they would through a regular savings account.

Equity crowdfunding

With equity crowdfunding, investors usually receive shares in the company in return for their investment. This means they receive a share of the profits if the company performs well. Investment sums tend to be in the thousands but it can be a riskier option as there is no guarantee on return.



Finance

Pub mortgage: complete guide | Swoop UK


If you’ve decided to fulfil your dream of running a pub or simply fancy a career change, you’ll likely need to borrow funds to help cover the cost of setting up your business.

This blog explains all you need to know about financing a pub.

What is pub finance?

Pub finance is an umbrella term that covers the different financial solutions often needed to get your pub business up and running. Pub finance can be used to cover dips in cash flow, pay for inventory, renovate an existing premises or buy a new one.

In some cases, funds could be transferred to your bank account within a few hours. Repayment terms depend on the type of finance you’ve applied for. Unsecured pub loans, for example, need to be repaid over one to seven years, while pub mortgages can be repaid over a period of up to 30 years.

What is a pub mortgage?

A pub mortgage is a type of commercial mortgage that’s used to buy or refinance a pub, nightclub or bar.

Pub mortgages are similar to regular commercial mortgages in that you borrow a lump sum to repay over many years. But lenders will generally have specifications about what type of business they are prepared to lend to, which means pub mortgages can be harder to qualify for.

You’ll need a pub mortgage if you want to buy the pub premises outright so that you have complete control of the business. This differs from leasing a pub, where you still run the business, but lease the premises from a leaseholder – often a brewery.

How do pub mortgages work?

As with all mortgages, a pub mortgage must be secured against your property, or even multiple properties. You repay the amount borrowed in regular instalments over a term of between five and 30 years. Repayments are usually monthly, but some lenders will let you pay weekly or quarterly. Interest rates can be fixed or variable.

Pub mortgages can be on an interest-only or capital repayment basis.

  • If you choose an interest-only mortgage, you’ll only need to repay the interest, resulting in lower monthly repayments. But at the end of the term, you’ll need to pay off the original amount borrowed, so you’ll need a suitable repayment plan in place.
  • With a capital repayment mortgage, you pay off a portion of the capital, plus interest, each month. At the end of the term, there will be nothing left to repay, and you’ll own the property outright.

Who can apply for a pub mortgage?

You can apply for a pub mortgage whether you’re an individual, a partnership, a limited liability partnership or a limited company. You must be at least 18 years old.

You might apply for a pub mortgage to buy a new property or refinance an existing one.

Am I eligible for a pub mortgage?

Pub mortgage applications will be individually assessed. Whether you’re eligible will depend on several factors, including:

  • Your affordability: Lenders will want to see that you can comfortably afford your repayments. To do this, they will examine your trading history and accounts. They will also look at existing levels of debt.
  • Your business plan: A robust business plan that outlines projected earnings and a budget for costs will work to your advantage. This is particularly important if you don’t have a trading history.
  • Your business credit history. A good credit score means you’re more likely to be accepted and secure competitive interest rates.
  • Your experience: Many lenders will be looking for at least two to three years’ experience in the hospitality sector, ideally running a pub or another business. If you’ve never run your own business and have no experience in the hospitality industry, you may struggle to get accepted for a pub mortgage.
  • Whether you have the necessary licences: At a minimum, you’ll need to have a personal licence and premises licence.
  • Your deposit size: You’ll need a deposit of 30% to 45% to qualify for a pub mortgage.

In addition, some lenders will look at the pub’s previous trading accounts, and the pub’s location may also be considered.

How long does an application take?

Pub mortgage applications can usually be completed within six to 12 weeks. However, this will depend on whether you have the necessary details and documents to hand, as well as the complexity of your situation.

How much does a pub mortgage cost?

Pub mortgage interest rates can range from 3% to 7% per year. But this will depend on:

  • The size of your deposit: The less you borrow, the less you’ll usually be charged
  • Your credit history: A higher credit score generally means a lower interest rate
  • Your trading history: A business in good financial health is more likely to secure a better rate.

Interest rates can be fixed or variable. If you choose a fixed-rate pub mortgage, the rate will remain the same for the term of the deal, usually two to five years. This means your monthly repayments will also be stable.

If you choose a variable rate deal, the mortgage rate and your monthly repayments could go up or down.

Where can I get a pub mortgage?

You may be able to find a pub mortgage with any of the following lenders:

  • High street banks: Mortgage rates can be more competitive with high street banks. You’ll usually need to speak to a specialist in the commercial lending team who has experience with pub mortgages.
  • Challenger banks: A few challenger banks offer pub mortgages. These banks tend to have more flexible lending criteria, so their mortgages are often easier to get accepted for. But this also means you’ll pay a higher interest rate.
  • Specialist online lenders: A mortgage with a specialist lender can be the most flexible option as they often accept applicants with poor credit or weaker trading accounts. Again, interest rates will be higher and you may need a larger deposit.

Can I get a pub mortgage with no deposit?

It might be possible to get a pub mortgage without a deposit. But you’d need another form of security, such as the equity in another property you own, to qualify. It’s best to discuss your situation with a mortgage broker who will be able to tell you which lenders are more likely to accept an application with no deposit.

What is a pub loan?

A pub loan enables you to borrow a sum of cash from a lender. You repay this sum, plus interest, in monthly instalments over a set term. Terms are generally shorter than pub mortgages, although this depends on the lender and whether the loan is unsecured or secured.

Unsecured loans, which don’t require collateral, are usually repaid over one to seven years. Secured loans have longer repayment terms.

What can I use my pub loan for?

Pub loans can be used for a variety of purposes, such as:

  • Buying inventory
  • Hiring staff
  • Renovating your premises
  • Outdoor maintenance, such as garden landscaping
  • Buying a vehicle for the business
  • Paying for kitchen equipment
  • Marketing and advertising costs

How much can I borrow for a pub?

This will depend on the type of loan you apply for and the lender. Unsecured pub loans might let you borrow from £1,000 to £500,000. Secured loans typically let you borrow upwards of £250,000.

The amount you can borrow will also depend on your credit rating and affordability, as well as your business’s financial health. The stronger these are, the more you can borrow.

What do I need for a pub loan application?

When applying for a pub loan, most lenders will want to see the following:

  • Three to six months’ worth of bank statements
  • Tax returns for at least the past two years
  • A cashflow forecast
  • Your exit strategy to show how you will pay back the loan
  • Proof of identity and address

If it’s a secured loan, you’ll also need to provide details of the security you’re offering.

You must be at least 18 years old and have a UK-registered business. Some lenders will ask that you’ve been trading in the UK for a minimum period – often around three months. However, lender criteria will vary, so check carefully.

How can I apply for pub and bar loans?

You can usually apply for a pub loan directly with the lender or you can apply through a broker.

A broker can assess your financial situation and help you find lenders that are more likely to accept your application and offer the most competitive interest rates. A broker can also offer support when completing your application, making it a much smoother and less stressful process.

Here at Swoop, we can help you find the right pub loan for you. Even if you’ve been turned down elsewhere, it may still be possible to secure the funds you need. Register with Swoop to get started.

What are the benefits of pub business loans?

One of the biggest benefits of pub business loans is that they can be quick and easy to set up. You might have the funds in your account in just a few hours.

As mentioned, pub loans can be used for a range of purposes, giving you the flexibility to spend the cash as you see fit. Monthly repayments are often fixed, making it easier to budget and interest rates can be low. What’s more, if you make your repayments on time, you’ll steadily improve your business credit score. This can boost your chances of getting access to more credit in the future.

What are the typical interest rates on pub finance?

Pub finance interest rates typically start from around 3.5%. You’re more likely to qualify for lower interest rates if you have a good trading history, excellent credit, and your business is financially robust.

Higher rates will usually apply if the lender views your business as a higher risk. This might include businesses with a poor credit score or a limited trading history.

Get started with Swoop

Our team at Swoop would be happy to discuss your requirements with you to help you find the right pub finance deal and support your application. Begin with the best deal to give your project the best start possible. Apply now.



Finance