Accountants Inspire Confidence in SMEs during tough economic times

April 08, 2009 (PRLEAP.COM) Business News
Manchester, UK According to Sage, a leading supplier of business software, small businesses are turning to their accountants before banks in their hunt for sound business advice. As a trusted advisor to SMEs, Sage works with 780,000 businesses and over 14,000 accountants in the UK.

Pulse 2009, a survey which was commissioned by Sage's Accountants' Division and conducted by Redshift Research to identify the current issues facing businesses and their accountants, reveals that 75% of accountants believe they are now a key source of business advice for SMEs. It also highlights that dealing with the effects of the recession; remaining competitive in a global market; being recession proof, and changes in tax legislation are the top challenges for business for the coming five years.

As banks step up to promote their image as trusted advisors, accountants are already viewed by their clients as their key confidents, followed by banks (31%) and industry trade associations (29%). This year, businesses are calling for accountants to get under the skin of their business with half of SMEs stating they will stay with their accountant and continue to seek their counsel because they understand the ins and outs of their business - and are asking for more face-to-face time to provide them with a higher level of reassurance.

In addition to core accounting services and management accounting, Pulse reveals that the SMEs are also contacting their accountant for advice on tax planning (44%) and financial advice (e.g. pensions and investment 39%). Furthermore, the research offers guidance as to how accountants can improve and develop their relationship with their clients, with businesses suggesting that accountants should stick to deadlines (37%), have more regular contact (35%) and improve their IT (19%).

Greg Ford, Managing Director of Sage's Accountants' Division comments; "The research reinforces that during these difficult times, businesses expect more from their accountant and are going to them for general business consultancy rather than just number crunching. Our role is to support and help accountants overcome the day-to-day practicalities of running their practice so they can focus on what's important to them and their clients."

Note to editors:

Sage Accountants' Division's Pulse Survey 2009 was conducted by Redshift Research. The research was completed by 198 accountants in practice and 178 business decision makers.

About Sage UK:

Sage (UK) Limited is a subsidiary of The Sage Group plc, a leading global supplier of business management software solutions and related products and services, principally for small to medium-sized enterprises. In the UK, Sage provides software and services to over 780,000 small and medium-sized businesses. This software ranges from accounts, payroll, forecasting and business intelligence to customer relationship management, e-business and help for start-ups. Services include Excel Support, HR Advice, Health and Safety Advice and training courses. In addition, Sage's SageCover service provides help for customers when they need it. www.sage.co.uk