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Article | 4-minute read

What you should know to prepare for business lending

Cash flow forecasting | Cash flow improvement

There’s no getting around it, applying for a business loan takes some serious preparation. And most of it needs to happen weeks or even months before you talk to your bank.

Start out with realistic expectations

Many business owners are caught out by being overly optimistic in relation to the amount they can borrow, or how long it can take to get approval. Don’t do yourself a disservice by applying for a loan amount that’s well in excess of your annual revenue or being unrealistic about the value of your assets. Allow yourself a good amount of time for the whole process. Typically, it takes 1-3 weeks of preparation before you’ll be ready to give your application to your banker. And it’s important to note that the application timeframe doesn’t start until you have provided everything that’s required. The bank then typically takes a couple of days to check and submit your application.  An update on your application typically takes 10-15 business days.disclaimerSo, start early, be realistic and be patient.

Know your credit profile

Your business credit history is key when assessing a lending application. Your history is based on the information in your credit report at a point in time. It’s always a good idea to know your credit history before applying for lending, as there are steps you can take to improve it. For example, you could use a provider of credit information such as Equifax to get information about your credit history before applying. Business owners should continuously monitor their credit profile, so they’re aware of any positive or negative changes and can correct any mistakes that may appear.  Even if you’ve resolved any mistakes or issues with your credit profile, it’s always best to disclose it in your application.

Know your business structure

Your business entity structure might not seem like the most interesting part of your business, but it can have a major impact on your business and personal finances. Whether you’re a sole trader, partnership, company or trust may influence how ANZ assesses your loan application, how your loan will be structured and what security is required. So, know your entity type and understand how much you are responsible for. 

Have a business plan

It’s not just sound business practice to have a plan, it can also really help you when the time comes for financing. A plan that sets out your goals for the next 6-12 months, will help you plan ahead for lending. Showing your banker how finance fits into your business plan, not only shows how the finance will be used, but also demonstrates that you are actively managing your business.

Do your cash flow forecasting, properly!

Cash flow is the lifeblood of all businesses, and forecasting is a way of predicting what you will need, and more importantly, if you will have enough. Any reputable lender will most likely want to see your cash flow forecast, and some will require regular updates throughout the term of your loan. Be as accurate and realistic as possible. There are many tools available to help you, such as the ANZ Cash Flow Forecast Checklist and the ANZ Cash Flow Forecast Template.

Seek external advice and support

Your banker is a great support, but you should seek appropriate independent advice from other sources available to you. An accountant, lawyer or business advisor can help you determine what type of loan or structure you need. They can also help you set up your business plan, ensure your forecasting is accurate, and access up to date financial information, such as tax returns. Colleagues, business mentors and friends can also be valuable sounding boards and sources of advice and tips. You also need to decide if you want to go directly to your bank or use a broker to help secure the best lending option for your business.

Get stuck into the paperwork

No one’s favourite job, but an unavoidable part of the process. The more organised and accurate you are, the less chance of delays in your application process. Everything needs to be as up to date as possible. This includes all your financial statements; you should use the most current ones. Accounting software packages can make everything easier. If you don’t already use one, it may be worth exploring what’s available.

Let your banker help you

Running your business can sometimes feel like a lonely job, but your banker is there to help you, wherever they can. If you have any questions about the application, ask. Don’t delay sending through any follow-up information, as this will delay the submission of your application. And get to know each other beyond lending applications. Have a coffee together and talk about your business goals. The more your banker knows you and your business, the better they can help with your finance needs.


Key takeaways

  • Start early, be realistic and patient: The application timeframe doesn’t start until you have provided everything that’s required. From there it typically takes 10-15 days for your application to be processed.disclaimer
  • Check your credit profile: It’s a key factor in our assessment of your application, so make sure all your details are correct and if there has been a glitch or previous issue with your credit profile, tell us.
  • Know your entity type and business structure: This will typically influence how your loan is structured and what security is required. Make sure to reach out to an accountant, lawyer or business advisor for more information.
  • Get help pulling together a business plan: Providing a 6-12 month view of your business helps to demonstrate that you’re actively managing your business. Make sure to reach out to an accountant or business advisor for more information.
  • Make sure all your relevant documents and statements are up to date: Check your documents are relevant to your current business and financials.
  • Talk to your banker: They’re there to help, so ask them all the questions you have.
  • Reach out to an accountant or business advisor: Having an external pair of eyes look over your application, business documents and plans can really help.

Next steps

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Any advice does not take into account your personal needs, financial circumstances or objectives and you should consider whether it is appropriate for you.

ANZ recommends you read the applicable Terms and Conditions and the ANZ Financial Services Guide (PDF 104kB) before acquiring the product.

This page contains only general information which is subject to change and is not a substitute for commercial judgement or professional advice. This information does not take into account your personal and financial needs, particular objectives and/or circumstances, and you should seek appropriate independent advice (which may include property, legal, financial, taxation and accounting advice) before making any decisions, investing, or acting on it.

Tools, templates, checklists, and calculators (“ANZ Tools”) linked or referred to on this page, are only some of many ways to analyse a business or industry, or to assist your planning and business decision making. You should seek the assistance of your accountant, business or other advisor when either planning for or analysing your business.

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ANZ tools, templates and checklists are only some of many ways to analyse a business or industry to assist your planning and business decision making. You should seek the assistance of your business advisor or accountant when either planning for or analysing your business' performance. To the extent permitted by law, ANZ makes no warranty and has no liability, in respect of your use of and reliance on these tools.

Loan processing time may vary based on your individual circumstances and is driven by a number of factors such as business size, structure, loan amount, type of loan, entity type, and industry. The processing time of 10 – 15 days noted in this checklist is a guide only and is typical for simple business entities. You should factor in a longer timeframe for more complex businesses.