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SMEs want accountants more involved in their businesses, survey finds

A global survey has found that small business owners want accountants more involved in their business and become future ‘business partners’ to help them shape and grow.

SMEs want accountants more involved in their businesses, survey finds
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  • Adrian Flores
  • March 12, 2021
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Businesses want accountants much more closely involved, believing the skills they offer are integral, according to a survey by Dext.  

Younger tech savvy business people in particular are keen to partner with accountants. Over half (54 per cent) of 18-to-34-year-olds say they want their accountants to be business partners, while 46 per cent of 35-to-44-year-olds feel the same.  

This number drops with older business people, with 33 per cent of 45-to-54-year-olds wanting an accountant as a partner and only 17 per cent of those 55 years and older.  

The data revealed that many businesses believe accountants make excellent virtual CFOs,

Over half (65 per cent) of 18-to-34-year-olds say accountants are useful in this role while 73 per cent of 35-to-44 years old feel the same.  

The provision of real-time data by accountants is a priority for many in the SME community who want to grow their businesses.  

Over half (88 per cent) of 18-to-34-year-olds say real-time data is very important while 90 per cent of 35-to-44-year-olds feel the same. Real-time data is still important for the 55 years and older group, with 79 per cent saying it’s key to growth.  

Just under half (49 per cent) of those polled also thought accountants were the best people to help with tax relief - more than bookkeepers, financial planners and management consultants.  

A vast majority of businesses polled also believe robust financial planning is the only way to grow.  

A huge 87 per cent of 18-to-34-year-olds say this type of planning is crucial for the growth they want in the next 12 months. 92 per cent of 35-to-44 years-olds feel the same. The numbers are similar for older groups – 90 per cent of 45-to-54 and 85 per cent of 55 years and older.  

“It’s fantastic to see so many in the business community waking up to the power of accountancy,” said Dext chief executive Adrian Blair.

“A good accountant, using the right software tools, can do so much for a business and people are now beginning to really understand this.  

“It’s clear that having a full picture of business finances, in real time, is critical to business success, and accountants are crying out for tools to help businesses succeed in these turbulent times. 

“Recovery won’t happen overnight, but SMEs are the lifeblood of the Australian economy, and supporting financial planning with expert accountant advice will help businesses move in a positive direction towards growth.” 

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