In April 2013, we commissioned a national research study for Small to Medium Enterprise in Australia, “SMEs – the fine line between failure and success” to better understand how more than 1000 accountants and SMEs use cloud-based software, who generates the most trusted sources of advice and what are the key drivers of business success.
Who can SME’s Trust?
70% of SMEs prefer to back their own instincts over advice from a professional. Any small business is a significant investment for its owner and a business owner’s instincts are important, especially in the early stages. However this does come with the risk that they are not being receptive to advice that can help them avoid costly mistakes.
Although SMEs rated accountants as their most trusted adviser, ahead of their financial adviser, lawyer, and even their business partner, with family and friends a distant last, only the SMEs that use their accountants well, will do better.
Virtual CFO Key to higher profitability
From this research SMEs are recommended to consider their accountant their virtual CFO and the adviser who is closest to the financial lifeblood of their business. The reason why most SMEs rate their accountants highly is they have the best visibility into the SMEs finances – the revenue patterns, the drivers of profitability, the balance sheet and risk factors overall.
SMEs not already doing this may be better positioned to consider opening up to advice from their accountants, while at the same time accountants could also be more proactive in selling their strategic advice to SME clients.
Talking about my generation
Around two thirds surveyed said they would consider replacing some of their accountants’ services with cloud-based software, and half said they would consider looking for a new accountant if they did not embrace a cloud solution.
This tells us there is a clear generational gap emerging among SME owners and accountants in terms of understanding the benefits of the cloud and being willing to embrace cloud solutions.
This year we will be once again presenting research into the impact of cloud and accounting – stay tuned.
Wolters Kluwer, CCH is a global leader in professional information services. Professionals in the areas of legal, business, tax, accounting, finance, audit, risk and compliance healthcare rely on Wolters Kluwer’s market leading information-enabled tools and software solutions to manage their business efficiently, deliver results to their clients, and succeed in an ever more dynamic world.