Business Finance – SMEs still going slow on the web.

Bank survey shows mid-market has yet to take advantage of internet time savings available to web users. More than a third of SMEs are missing out on the internet revolution, and it could be costing them the equivalent of four working weeks a year in lost time, according to a survey from the Co-operative Bank’s Business Direct service. Some 42% of bosses polled did not have internet access at work. But, of the managers who were wired to the web, 46 % said online working was saving them up to three hours a week – almost four working weeks a year. A hi-tech hard core (8%) was saving more than six hours a week.

For a copy of the report visit

– The British Bankers Association is to introduce a new code of banking practice for banks’ small business customers. The code, is being developed in consultation with organisations representing small businesses, government, the Bank of England and the Banking Ombudsman. It will focus on helping small businesses to choose banking products and services, understand interest and charges, account transfers, managing accounts, confidentiality and handling difficulties and complaints. The code will take effect from March 2002.

For more details on the code of practice go to:

– The enduring myth that small companies poach trained staff from large operations has been questioned by a NatWest survey. The most important source of new recruits for small companies is other small companies (over 40%) followed by the unemployed (over 20%). Large companies account for less than 20% of recruits for small companies. Small firms are likely to be the breeding ground for new entrepreneurs. Employees leaving to set up their businesses out number those who leave their own business to become a small company employee.

For the report in full go to

– UK SMEs can now have access to financial services following partnership deals secured by the website eZoka. Suppliers including Norwich Union Health Care and Woolwich Independent Financial Services are offering online financial advice services as part of the initiative. Members signing up to the service can now arrange group pensions, company insurance, and online financial planning services on a fee or commission basis.

The site can be accessed at

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