A CPA Australia survey, conducted in conjunction with CoreData, found a range of barriers preventing people from seeking professional advice, including a widely held belief in their own abilities, affordability and a lack of trust.
The research was based on a survey of 1,244 individuals and 815 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) about the intangible benefits of receiving professional advice.
CPA Australia general manager of external affairs Dr Jane Rennie said structural issues seem to be deterring people from seeing professional advice.
“The economic and health benefits of seeking professional advice are compelling, which begs the question, why don’t more Australians seek professional advice?” she said.
“Consumers and SMEs view professional advice very differently to lawmakers. They expect to see one qualified adviser for a range of taxation, business and financial advice needs. But the regulatory framework isn’t designed for this.
“Whatever their reasons for not seeking professional advice, our research shows that consumers and SMEs are paying a heavy economic and emotional toll for going it alone, which is ultimately shared by the whole community.”
Dr Rennie said that to realise the potential benefits identified in our research, there needs to be better accessibility and affordability of professional advice.
“This requires a system where consumers and SMEs can seek the advice they want from their chosen professional adviser,” she said.
The CPA Australia research found that SMEs identified similar personal advice needs and benefits to individuals, including reported benefits to their physical and mental health, family and social life, relationships and work satisfaction from receiving professional advice.
A large majority of SMEs associated financial security with professional advice (73.9 per cent) and four in 10 SMEs identified mental health benefits.
On top of that, SMEs said financial advice addressed the added pressure of their business needs.