Speed, ease and dependable customer service!  These are the common themes Australian SMEs are looking for when sourcing new business finance or refinancing existing loan facilities in 2023.

Topping the list for SMEs was the onboarding process, with an overwhelming 95% of businesses saying they want the least amount of paperwork and administrative hurdles – up from 90% at the outset of the pandemic in March 2020.

The next most critical factor was rapid credit approval, with 72% of SMEs nominating it as key to their decision making, up from 67% in March 2020.

And rounding out the top three, 36% of SMEs reported consistently high levels of customer service were highly valued, up from 31% in March 2020.

The insights were contained in the latest round of ScotPac’s bi-annual SME Growth Index Report. Other top findings related to SMEs seeking a new loan or a refinance facility included:

  • Word-of-mouth referrals are an important pathway to finding a new lender for 35% of SMEs.
  • 5% of SMEs are swayed by their existing transaction banking relationships, and only 3% nominated reputation as a relevant factor.
  • SMEs are becoming more discerning when it comes to choosing a finance partner, with 85% now shopping around for the right features and benefits, up from 77% in March 2020.

Craig Michie, ScotPac Group Executive, Client Acquisition and Asset Finance, said the findings were a good reflection of the priorities for most Australian SMEs and the increasingly competitive nature of business finance.

‘Most SME owners and operators want to focus their time and energy on running their business, not producing copious spreadsheets for prospective finance partners,’ Mr Michie said.

‘ScotPac has built its business around providing SMEs with quick approvals and the certainty that fuss-free funding will be available when they need it, so they can act quickly and confidently as opportunities arise.

‘We specialise in lending to businesses and have used that knowledge and leading-edge technology to make the process as quick and easy as you will find anywhere.

‘When you add the ability for brokers and their clients to deal directly with the credit approver and have ongoing the support of a dedicated relationship manager, it’s a winning formula for business owners,’ Mr Michie said.

About the SME Growth Index

ScotPac’s bi-annual SME Growth Index, is Australia’s longest running research report on SME sentiment towards revenue growth prospects.

The Round 17 research was conducted by East & Partners who interviewed 718 SME enterprises with annual revenues of A$1-20 million to September 2022.

The SMEs surveyed have operated continuously for an average of 13.9 years and manage an average of 59 full time employees.

Sectors represented in the survey included Manufacturing (14.5%), Business Services (14.1%), Retail (11.4%), Wholesale (11.0%), Personal / Other Services (10.6%), Construction (9.6%) and 28.8 all other industries including Transport, Mining, Agriculture, Media, Accommodation, Finance (non-bank) and Electricity.


ScotPac is Australia and New Zealand’s largest non-bank SME business lender, providing funding to small, medium and large businesses from start-ups to enterprises exceeding $1 billion revenues. For more than 30 years ScotPac has helped thousands of business owners succeed, offering fast and flexible funding. From simple to complex, small to large, start up, growth or turnaround – ScotPac can help with a range of funding from Invoice, Trade or Asset Finance to Home Loans and Business Loans.


For more information contact:

Todd Hayward
Mob: 0412 205 151