Banks to seek alliances.

Banks across the Uk are soon to start targeting accountants to build up strategic alliances in a bid to stave off outside competition and expand customer bases, according to experts.

By spring 2002 the UK can expect to see stronger links between accountancy firms of all sizes and banks.

A spokesperson at Lloyds TSB said: ‘We are constantly looking at new strategic alliances and other ways of doing business.

‘But there is nothing in the pipeline at present.’

Ian Fletcher, consultant to many of the UK’s leading accountancy firms, told delegates at ICAS’ practice management conference in Loch Lomond: ‘What’s happening is that banks have realised that entrepreneurs have strong links with accountants.’

Fletcher predicted that banks will provide accountants with facilities such as desktop credit scoring data. ‘I think it will become the norm,’ he said.

But an insider at a leading Scottish investment bank disagreed. ‘I think it will just continue on a referral basis,’ he said, preferring to remain anonymous.

One delegate told Accountancy Age that she already had a loans facility on her desktop, provided by the Clydesdale Bank.

Another delegate said she was very interested in the prediction and would be looking to develop relations between her three-partner firm in Orkney and the banks they deal with.

A spokesman for Barclays Bank said: ‘We are watching this space with interest.’ But he was not able expand further.

The alliances are expected to speed up and improve information sharing between accountants and banks besides smoothing the way for businesses looking for extra financing from their banks.

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