SMEs are often described as the engine room of the Australian economy, and it's hard to argue otherwise. These businesses contribute 57 per cent of the country's GDP and 12 per cent are in a constant state of expansion, according to National Australia Bank (NAB).
But SMEs don't have to go it alone. Small business accountants such as WMC Accounting can provide a range of services in addition to traditional tax and accounting functions.
28 per cent of clients consider communication as the most important factor when choosing an accountant.
So what do SMEs want from their trusted advisers over the coming months and beyond?
1. Good communication
At WMC Accounting, we firmly believe personal touch matters – and we have research to back us up. A ClearBooks survey showed 28 per cent of clients consider communication the most important factor when choosing an accountant, while 21 per cent selected price.
Offering multiple points of contact is also important. Even though 42 per cent of people like face-to-face meetings with their accountant, 10 per cent prefer instant messaging and 16 per cent want to communicate solely through cloud accounting software, figures from Xero reveal.
2. Technology know-how
NAB found that SMEs are technologically savvy and keen to grow their business through automation, social media and other innovative means. In fact, more than two-thirds of business owners said they keep up to speed with new technology developments because they believe it's important to their success.
Almost half SME businesses are focusing on growth and expansion, according to NAB's SME Moments that Matter report https://t.co/CW7oCNU3oR
— NAB (@NAB) July 17, 2017
Unsurprisingly, this attitude has a knock-on effect for their expectations from accountants. Xero found that 31 per cent of SMEs cited technical competence as an essential skill for business advisors to have, with only trust (55 per cent) and attention to detail (47 per cent) considered more important.
3. Tailored business advisory services
Only 4 per cent of SMEs chose 'tax' when asked by ClearBooks which areas of their business needed the most attention from an accountant. Instead, one-third said business strategy and 24 per cent chose budgeting.
The results highlight how important specialist advisory services are to today's entrepreneurs, many of whom may not have formal qualifications in business or marketing.
Does your SME need business advisory services?
According to Xero, SMEs with a business advisor grow their net profits 23 per cent faster than those who don't seek professional help. Despite this, only one-third of small business owners have an accountant and nearly half have no adviser at all.
Would you like to learn more about what business advisory services could help your SME grow? Please request an appointment with WMC Accounting today.