3 Ways to Make it Easier for...

3 Ways to Make it Easier for SMBs to Share Financial Data with You

Transparency is vital to SMB growth. Yet, when it comes to sharing financial data, many small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) may feel hesitant or overwhelmed. As a stakeholder, whether you’re an advisor, a lender, or a consultant, gaining access to accurate financial information is crucial for making informed decisions. 

However, it’s equally important to recognize the challenges faced by SMBs in sharing such data. You can bridge this gap and facilitate a smoother exchange of financial information by making the process easier for SMB clients, providing value, and establishing long-term relationships.

Simplify the Process

SMBs, particularly those with limited resources, may find the process of compiling and sharing financial data daunting. To address this challenge, it’s important to simplify the process as much as possible. Besides the basics, such as offering templates or standardized forms that SMBs can easily fill out, you can help SMB clients connect their financial data to automated cloud-based platforms.

Implementing cloud-based data-sharing platforms can significantly reduce the manual effort involved in gathering and transmitting financial information. By minimizing friction in the sharing process, you not only make it easier for SMBs but also improve the accuracy and timeliness of the data you receive. Using technology to streamline the sharing process can be one of the most effective ways to gain ongoing insight into SMB health. 

Educate and Build Trust

Many SMBs may be reluctant to share financial data due to concerns about confidentiality or not enough trust in an advisory service to grow their business. Take proactive steps to educate SMBs about the importance of sharing financial information and the benefits it can bring to their business relationships — preferably through data visualization and quantitative forecasts. Emphasize confidentiality protocols and reassure them of your commitment to safeguarding their data, ensuring your technology partners are SOC 2 compliant can ease everyone’s fears. 

Consider offering resources such as webinars or informational materials that demystifies financial reporting and helps SMBs understand what information is relevant for different stakeholders. Transparency and assistance in educating your SMB clients can help create an environment where SMBs feel more comfortable sharing their financial data.

Provide Value in Return

For SMBs clients, sharing financial data shouldn’t feel like a one-sided transaction. To incentivize participation, it’s crucial to demonstrate the value they stand to gain from sharing their information. Highlight how access to accurate financial data can enable better decision-making, and fuel growth. Offer insights or feedback based on the data provided, demonstrating that you’re not just passively receiving information but actively engaging with it to support their success.

Consider providing access to benchmarking data or industry trends that can help SMBs gain valuable insights into their performance relative to their peers by partnering with a technology partner like interVal. By offering tangible benefits in return for sharing financial data, you can motivate SMBs to prioritize transparency and collaboration.