The survey of 500 small-business owners revealed that 43 per cent of owners operate without an accountant or bookkeeper and of those that do, just 9 per cent are leveraging those relationships for advice or planning.
Nicolette Maury, managing director of Intuit Australia, told AccountantsDaily that the research indicates there is currently a great opportunity for accountants to step in and fulfil the role of trusted adviser to small-business entrepreneurs.
“We know from the research that small businesses who have a trusted adviser are much more confident of success but what we also know is that almost half of small-business owners don’t even use an accountant or bookkeeper and when they do, only about 9 per cent of them are using their accountant to add strategic value to their business and help them improve their overall business performance,” Ms Maury said.
“There is a huge opportunity out there right now for accountants to play this role and promote themselves as those trusted advisers."
Ms Maury said that successful accountants and bookkeepers, who are making the best use of cloud software and are promoting themselves as proactive accountants, can work with small business in real time by collaborating with them via the cloud and advising them on how they can grow their business.
“Rather than those purely looking at the data backwards to give advice on compliance and what they could have done better in the past, it’s those forward-looking accountants and bookkeepers who are presenting themselves to the small business as an adviser, rather than just a compliance or a tax support, who are the ones that are taking full advantage of this,” she said.
Ms Maury said the research also indicated that small businesses in the start-up phase often neglect to engage an accountant, thinking they can do the work themselves or alternatively, that they do not have sufficient cash flow to afford the services of a trusted adviser.
“What this research really talks about though is that those who do invest in a trusted adviser end up being more confident and end up having a higher likelihood of success by having that trusted advice early on,” Ms Maury said.
“What we see from small businesses [is that] it’s often the little things that undermine them and just having some of these disciplines around being able to understand what is going on in their business, being able to understand their cash flow situation and being able to look ahead to understand where there might be some problems in the future, they’re really the things that both the cloud software and the trusted adviser can help them get to grips with as early as possible so that they can be building a sustainable business.”