The results of the recent My Business SME Insight Survey have revealed exactly how SMEs use their accountants, and what other services they wish accountants offered.
Profitability in 2016-17
More than half (56 per cent) of My Business readers admitted to having sought external advice on growth. Of these, 61 per cent sought this advice from their accountant.
In the 2016-17 financial year, the vast majority of SMEs are forecasting a rise in profits, with 87 per cent expecting to come in ahead of last year. More than a third (37 per cent) expect a rise in profits of between one and 10 per cent.
According to survey respondents, the three services most commonly offered by accountants are tax and compliance services, SMSF advice, and structuring and restructuring advice.
The top three services SME operators want from their accountants include both tax and compliance services and structuring and restructuring advice (first and third respectively), but the second most sought-after service – planning and growth advice – is noticeably absent from accountants' offerings.
Other services that SME operators want their accountants to offer include cash flow and working capital advice, finance and funding advice, forecasting and risk management.
How do you pay for your accountant?
Some 44 per cent of respondents said their accountant charges via time-based billing.
However, many business owners want to see this format changed, with 41 per cent admitting they would prefer to be charged by a hybrid of time- and value-based billing.
Survey respondents were also asked whether they have a succession plan in place, with just 42 per cent of business operators confirming that they do.
Selling the business is the most favoured path of succession, with 47 per cent of those with a plan opting for this method.