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Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK are set to be given the opportunity to seize greater control over the information provided about them to prospective creditors by credit reference agencies. This will help increase their access to both finance and credit insurance cover which has been hit hard during the current economic crisis. This opportunity will:

• Give SMEs the Opportunity to Better Control the Supply of Key Business Performance Information required by Credit Reference Agencies and their Customers

• Enable More SMEs to Benefit from the Government Trade Credit Insurance Scheme

The news follows today’s announcement from commercial credit agency Graydon UK and Validis, a web based business accounting data analysis specialist, to jointly launch a new enhanced credit information service for SMEs. The Graydon Enhanced Credit Information Service Powered by Validis, is the first credit information service of its kind and is expected to launch in Summer 2009.

The service will be based on real-time company financial information. Companies using the service will benefit as assessments made of their financial strength and viability by banks, credit insurers, factors, suppliers, invoice discounters and ratings agencies will be based on validated up to date monthly management accounts.

Prior to a company authorising dispatch of their financial information, executives and accountants will be able to use the Validis software to validate and analyse their monthly management accounts. This service will assist users by identifying potential issues, anomalies and errors in their management accounts, thereby ensuring their content is compliant for use as part of the credit-rating process. Validis’ advanced accounts review solution is capable of recognising different accounts structures, so it can extract and interpret data from a wide range of accounting systems, then convert the information into a common format, to produce standardised feeds.

This validated information will then be channelled to Graydon UK and incorporated into its existing credit information database. The validation process ensures that companies seeking access to finance can do so knowing that assessments of their creditworthiness are being based upon information that has been independently confirmed as being trustworthy and reliable.
Graydon UK and Validis expect that businesses will have the opportunity to strengthen their own credit recommendations as a direct result of using the service.

The Graydon-Validis service will play a crucial role in ensuring that SMEs are better placed to access the benefits of Government’s trade credit insurance scheme, announced in the recent Budget. The scheme offers UK firms the opportunity to purchase “top up” insurance from the Government if credit limits on their UK customers are reduced. It is not designed to support bad businesses or unacceptably high risks.

However, the use of up to date standardised and validated monthly management account data will now help to ensure that firms which would have been adjudged high risk based on historical financial information are rightly assessed as meriting protection under the terms of scheme. This will enable them to continue to trade as the economic downturn continues.

The launch of the new service will also mean that UK companies will no longer be obliged to rely solely upon historic annual statutory accounts filed at Companies House, which have until now been used by providers of finance and credit as the main basis for assessments of companies’ strength and viability.

Whilst this historical financial trend information plays an important part in credit scoring, the use of up to the minute fully validated management account information will significantly enhance the quality of credit decision making.

Under the terms of its agreement with Validis, Graydon UK will be the exclusive distributor of management account information received from users to all other credit reference agencies.

Martin Williams, Managing Director, Graydon UK, said: “This service will be a global first and represents an enormous step forward for the commercial credit referencing industry. We also believe it will play an important role in helping to restore the flow of finance to UK companies in what has become a market starved by macro-economic conditions.”

“Commercial lenders are thinking longer and harder than ever before about the extension of credit as the severe economic downturn continues. They also need to be able to base their decisions on reliable detailed financial data and insights. It is essential therefore that credit reference agencies do everything within their power to offer credit recommendations based on up to the minute information.”

“Enabling the basing of creditworthiness assessments on independently validated and current monthly management account information will enhance further the overall quality of recommendations made by credit reference agencies.”

Martin Williams added: “It will also increase credit granters’ confidence to approve financing requests in cases where businesses are able to honour their commitments and ensure that as many SMEs in the UK are able to access the protection provided by the Government’s newly announced Trade Credit Insurance Scheme.”

Christopher Poll, Chairman & CEO of Future Route, Validis parent, added: “SMEs are the backbone of the UK economy. If the nation is to successfully navigate the current crisis, it is no longer sufficient for organisations providing information to prospective creditors to base their assessments on statutory historical data alone.

“We’re offering a fundamentally new model for the way in which SMEs operate, especially in the availability and costing of their finance and credit facilities. Validis’ software gives SMEs and their accountants the ability to quickly and comprehensively reassure themselves that they can cost-effectively and time-efficiently provide verified and validated management account information for an up to date assessment of financial risk by creditors or providers of finance. The recipients will feel much more confident that they have to hand both the insight and information they need to price risks appropriately.”

“We believe that this is a fundamental change in the way UK business in general, and the credit information industry in particular, is managed. Graydon-Validis have combined to inject a new commercial realism into the UK economy at a time when the banks and the credit industry alike continue to be partially paralysed in a terms of lending activity.”

To learn more about this new service, please visit: http://graydon.validis.com.

-Ends -

For further information contact:

Stephen Finch / Giles Robinson
Weber Shandwick Financial
Phone: 020 7067 0705 / 0734
Email: sfinch@webershandwick.com / grobinson@webershandwick.com

Graydon UK Limited
Phone: 020 8515 1400
Email: mail@graydon.co.uk

Notes to Editors:

About Graydon UK

Graydon UK is one of the leading database information providers specialising in credit risk management and risk assessed marketing lists. The company helps clients reduce the uncertainty of doing business by providing a complete, differentiated and high-quality package of credit risk management services. Graydon provides access to credit information and reports on companies in more than 130 countries worldwide. The Graydon group is owned by Atradius, Coface and Euler Hermes, three of Europe's leading credit insurance organisation. www.graydon.co.uk

In 2008, Graydon UK Managing Director Martin Williams was invited by Philip King, Director General of the Institute of Credit Management (ICM), to join the ICM think tank (an expert panel of 20-25 industry leaders who meet quarterly and act as an influencing force on all issues related to the credit industry in the UK.).That same year, Martin Williams was honoured by Credit Today, after being included on their Credit 100 list of people who have had the greatest impact in the credit industry during 2008.

About Validis

Validis Amatino is a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) accounts review solution specifically designed for any accountant and senior management – whether within a company (SME) or in practice - to enable them to transform their current procedures for reviewing company accounts and in producing their business’s key financial performance indicators.

Validis assists in the cost-effective and time-efficient production of the types of detailed, in-depth, analytical reports highlighting the key performance indicators that are required regularly by company executives and their advisors in today’s difficult business conditions.

For more information visit www.validis.com, email chris.poll@validis.com or phone 0207 960 9650.

About Future Route

Future Route is a leader in the application of ‘Intelligent Analytics’ - the application of artificial intelligence and inductive logic programming to finding important answers to business problems, especially identification of fraud, within significant volumes of data. Validis is one of a number of solutions offering by Future Route in industries as diverse as accounting, telecommunications, insurance, retail and financial services, helping them to overcome the time, cost and inaccuracies of traditional business intelligence approaches.

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Leapfrogg in the following categories: Business & Finance, for more information visit https://pressreleasewire.responsesource.com/about.