It is not only my believe that the accountant has a prominent SME role to play, as a trusted financial and business advisor.
A 2004 survey by Sage Heartbeat revealed that just under 50% of small accounting firms have 500 active business clients, with an average turnover of a staggering £1.7 million.
In total the SME market in the UK comprises of about 3 million companies with a combined turnover in excess of £1.152 trillion.
This is certainly a staggering market place for approximately 22.000 small accounting firms, but what kind of service do the accounts provide to their clients?
In my discussions with accountants it is obvious that they would like to spend more time with clients on planning, for-casting and analyzing. Especially the smaller end of the client spectrum needs this kind of support from accountants, due to the lack of dedicated and qualified in-house personnel.
For the SOHO business other “quality” advice sources are often difficult to come by. In my personal experience the so called “Business Advisors from Business Link” can do more damage than good. General statement like “You need to do a business plan.”, are all well and good, but who is going to explain how to do a cash flow for-cast. The advisors I invited to “advice” me certainly could not do that.
Around 50% of business start-ups fail within the first 12 month. Is this due to bad products or services? I don’t believe so, all you have to do is go along the high street and you are surprised at what kind of business can survive long term. I think in most cases it is bad or disastrous financial management and planning.
So why are many accountants not stepping up to the plate and get stuck in? They are uniquely qualified to solve these often very simple problems and educate their clients, this would also benefit the practice long term.
Tags: Accountants, AIA, Business Development, Business Infrastructure, Business Link, Business Mentoring, Business Start Up, CIMA, CIPFA, Client Relations, CPA, CPAs, Entrepreneur, Home Business, ICAEW, ICAI, ICAS, IFA, Micro Business, Sage Accounting, SBI, Selfemployed, Small Business, smb, sme, sme-blog, SOHO, Very Small Business, Virtual Assitants, VSB