Experian Provides Vital Advice to Help SMEs Improve their Company’s Credit Score

Experian provides vital advice to help SMEs improve their company’s credit score

As it reveals that two thirds of SMEs don’t think it is important to check their own business credit scores

Nottingham,  11 June 2010 – Experian today advised UK small and medium sized enterprises (SME) about the importance of actively monitoring and managing their own business credit scores to put them in the best possible position to secure credit, business loans, tenders or business services.

Using commercial credit scores enables businesses to manage the risks of not getting paid, losing a vital supplier or becoming a victim of fraud. 

Experian’s research shows that many SMEs are not aware of what picture their own company’s credit health paints about them and how they can positively influence it.  The independent survey of over 500 UK SMEs reveals that over half of SMEs recognise the importance of checking a customer or supplier’s commercial credit score, but only 28 per cent think it is important to check their own commercial credit score.

In a climate in where a healthy credit score is more critical than ever before, Experian is recommending that it is essential for all businesses to understand their credit status and the steps they can take to positively influence it.  

Experian’s figures show that although the financial stability of UK businesses has improved in the last 12 months and the rate of insolvencies has become stable, they have yet to return to the levels they were at before the recession.  Therefore, it continues to be vital for businesses to understand the circumstances in which they are operating.

Simon Streat, Experian’s Head of SME for UK and Ireland, said: “Our analysis has found that 56 per cent of SMEs know it is important to use credit scoring to help them manage some of the financial risks associated with extending credit or a business loan to new customers.  However, most do not appreciate the importance of knowing their own commercial credit score or the value they will gain by actively monitoring and managing it.

“These are tough times for SMEs and the message is very clear.  They need to check their credit reports regularly, especially before making an application for credit or a business loan, to ensure that their reports accurately reflect their circumstances. 

“The steps towards a healthy commercial credit score are simple and those that are taking them are seeing the benefits.”

Experian today published key advice for SMEs on how to build a healthy commercial credit score:


  1. Get a copy of your own report and find out what your commercial credit score is.  To purchase a copy of your limited company report, call 0844 481 8888.
  2.  Ensure it is an accurate representation of your circumstances.  As the report is based on information from third party suppliers, it may highlight lingering issues with your business that you were not aware of or thought had been resolved.
  3.  Pay invoices on time.  A worsening payment trend is a key indicator of a deteriorating cash position.
  4. File annual returns and financial accounts on time.  Businesses with poor trading results tend to delay submitting their accounts.  Late filing of accounts can be a sign of financial distress. 
  5. Avoid County Court Judgments (CCJ) where possible.  However, if one does occur, ensure it is settled within the month.  In stable economic conditions the incidence of one CCJ would not necessarily involve the withdrawing of credit lines, but it is more likely to have a greater impact in the current economic climate.
  6. Owners of small or newly formed businesses should also keep an eye on their own personal finances.  In cases where the financial data of a business is scarce, consumer data is a valuable indicator of the business’s likely commercial integrity.  Subject to consent, lenders are able to consider the personal finances of a business’s directors or proprietors in commercial lending decisions, provided the company is independently owned and has fewer than four directors or proprietors.
  7. Put your business on the map.  Register with a credit reference agency or a directory, such as Yell or Thomsons.  Make sure there is enough information about your business available, because if it falls below the radar then you could struggle to gain access to credit and services.
Serj Heera
PR Manager, Credit Services and Decision Analytics
Tel: +44 (0) 115 992 2773
Mobile: +44 (0)7837 652169
Email:  serjeet.heera@uk.experian.com