Research house Bstar has found that the “top solutions” smaller businesses are interested in from their accountants include CFO-type services, such as advice on profits and cash flow.
Medium-sized businesses are looking to accountants for “sounding board”-type services, which are particularly popular when firms are three to four years out from sale.
Over 70 per cent of all SME purchases from accountants fell into one of these two categories in the last 12 months.
“Sounding board” services involve regular meetings, on either a quarterly or monthly basis, where business risks, impending industry changes and growth opportunities – such as acquisitions – are discussed and strategised.
“It’s like a board of advice, as opposed to a formal company board, and it helps SMEs build value, grow and transition their business,” Bstar chief executive Grant Bloxham told AccountantsDaily.
“Accountants need to be building skills in that area; that’s the challenge,” he said.
Previous research from Bstar has suggested high awareness but low action from accountants in capitalising on these business opportunities.
However, Bstar has noted a spike in training around new service areas, including from non-senior management in accounting firms. Mr Bloxham believes this is a sign that the industry is starting to take note of calls to diversify services.
“Hopefully this trend indicated that accountants understand the opportunities in business advisory,” Mr Bloxham said.