SME demand for accountants tipped to spike in 2017

SMEs have a positive outlook on the economy for next year, which will translate to higher demand for accountants’ advisory services, according to the CEO of MYOB.

MYOB’s latest Business Monitor survey revealed that 26 per cent of SMEs expect the economy to improve, while 33 per cent expect it to remain the same over the next year.

On top of this, 27 per cent of SMEs stated their revenue has increased, up from 21 per cent in the July Business Monitor.

Speaking to Accountants Daily, MYOB CEO Tim Reed said this is good news for accountants.

“The fact that the small business sector is feeling more optimistic and more positive going into 2017 bodes well for accountants, because while their clients have a mindset of growth and can see opportunity, then they’re more likely to invest more in their business and therefore require more assistance from their accountant,” Mr Reed said.

“There is more likelihood that small business owners will be looking for more advice from accountants, so I think that part of their business will be busier.”

Mr Reed emphasised that the boost accountants may experience will be in advisory work, as opposed to compliance.

“There is an underlying backdrop here for accountants, which is that they're going through a period of rapid technological change in terms of the way that [they] work,” he said.

“One of the things that we've seen over recent years is that there's been increasing fee pressure, particularly on compliance work, but that is more to do with the specifics of the accounting profession than it is with broader economic trends.”

As compliance work becomes increasingly automated, accountants are becoming more efficient in this area and therefore are spending less time on compliance work.

“Even if [compliance work is reduced], there's a good chance that small businesses will be requiring other services from accountants, so that will either balance out or will result in absolute growth for accountants,” Mr Reed said.

While SMEs are feeling positive, Mr Reed warned that Australia can’t become complacent.

“In a challenging global environment, we need to ensure Australia remains an attractive place to do business, and call on the government, opposition and cross-benchers to support the proposed company tax reductions,” Mr Reed said.

“Having one of the highest levels of company tax in the OECD just won’t cut it. We also need to ensure we keep removing roadblocks to business growth, so the push towards prompt payment protocols is also very welcome.”

 

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