Businesses in the construction sector deal with many challenges, but keeping up with the pace of change and managing time and money remain key issues.

To achieve the time, cost and quality goals of a construction project, investment in new machinery and equipment, as well as in IT, are vital parts of planning for growth and success.

The question that many decision-makers face is whether they should purchase new machinery using cash, through external finance using their overdraft or by way of hire purchase or lease.

Asset finance is a growing market.

And the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) latest Business Statistics Briefing Paper 2016, revealed that entrepreneurial activity in the UK remains high, with over 383,000 new business enterprises registered in 2015 – the highest in 15 years.

With a growth rate of 12% in 2015, asset finance had its second consecutive year of double-digit growth, according to the sector’s leading trade body, the Finance & Leasing Association (FLA).

The FLA also reported that almost 32% of all UK investments in machinery, equipment and software purchases were funded using asset finance facilities during the year.

But, alongside Brexit, businesses are still facing key challenges when accessing external finance within the UK.

With the pace of change moving so fast, the British Business Bank (BBB) are building awareness of alternative sources of finance to support and, together with improving access to finance, speed of delivery and increasing SME businesses’ understanding of finance options, fintech businesses are increasing existing sources of finance and channels of funding.

Recognising this pace of change and the way in which people work more digitally to stay ahead of the game, a leading finance broker has launched a new market-leading online asset finance platform to simplify access to the asset finance market.

Asset Finance Compared has been set up by independent finance broker, Midlands Asset Finance, to enable businesses to access and apply for asset finance for transactions ranging from £5k to £100k online. (with larger transactions being looked at by their specialist relationship management team).

The online platform compares a wide panel of asset finance funders in three easy steps to offer a competitive, instant quote at the touch of a button.

The funder which best matches the customer’s requirements in terms of asset category, credit appetite and price, depending on the customer’s financial standing, is selected.

Unlike other comparison websites, once a quote has been accepted, Asset Finance Compared will not hand off a client to a funder to take forward a proposal.

Instead, with their in-house team, they will work on getting full credit approval on the very best terms. They will take the transaction from the quote stage through to credit and documentation and finally through to pay-out, keeping the customer fully up-to-date with their process.

All businesses need to do is:

1) provide some basic details about the business and amount to finance

2) provide details of the asset(s) they are looking to purchase

3) obtain an automated, instant quote

The site will analyse the information entered and undertake various checks and reference to data before issuing the best single instant quote on an automated basis.

Identification is then verified using online technology by the in-house team, so the transaction can be handled quickly and remotely.

Dave Chapman, Director of Asset Finance Compared, says: “Our new Asset Finance Compared website and business model is an industry first, and it will completely transform the way that businesses source and secure asset finance facilities up to £100,000, with an instant quote being offered.

“Having undertaken various checks within the platform, we can supply the quote with confidence for established businesses.

“The pace of change is so fast,” he continues. “Being able to trade digitally is essential to support customers’ growth and investment plans.

“The three simple steps to finance, and the handling of everything in-house, will save the customer valuable time and resource which can be diverted elsewhere.”