In a recent survey conducted by The Sleeter Group, small to mid-sized businesses were asked what they want from their accountants. Over 1000 prospects were screened and narrowed down to 188 participants who were then questioned about the services they desired as well as what they believed their accountants could provide verses what they wanted to provide.
The results proved interesting. Here is a quick summary of what they discovered:
- Expertise and responsiveness were rated the most persuasive characteristics in selecting an accountant. The article goes on to explain, “What may come as a surprise is that ‘proactive strategic advice’ was the third-highest-rated factor with an average score of 8.7, coming in ahead of ‘reputation’ and ‘low fees.’ The fact that proactive strategic advice rates so high shows SMBs want a CPA who is a partner in their success and often thinking about their business.”
- 47.8% of small businesses would prefer an accountant specializing in their industry while 37.8% don’t care either way and 14.4% require a specialist.
- 59% are ”highly satisfied” with their current accountant while 21% are “satisfied” and 20% are “dissatisfied.”
- The top five services SMBs are currently receiving include tax return preparation, tax planning, compilation/reviewing/auditing of records, representation at government audit, and bookkeeping.
- The top five services SMBs wish their accountants offered include business planning, business strategy, the creation of a business dashboard, business analytics, and tax planning.
- The top three preferred methods of communication with accountants are by (in order of preference) email, phone and in person.
- The top two reasons SMBs leave their accountants are 1. a lack of proactive advice as opposed to reactive advice, and 2. accountants exhibited poor responsiveness.
- SMBs want help in strategic planning and technology but don’t believe their accountants want to provide those services. The article explains, “When it comes to technology planning, almost two-thirds of respondents said they ‘never’ seek out advice from their CPA, showing SMBs don’t believe accountants have the expertise in technology to provide such advice.”
So what does this survey suggest? Focus your efforts on providing those additional services SMBs desire, like strategic business and tax planning. Also, consider the importance of becoming a Growth and Profit Expert, helping clients tackle problems proactively while making more strategic and lucrative business decisions. And gaining expertise in technology will also help you respond to one of their most pressing needs.
UAC’s Training Programs Can Help
Our convenient and practical online training programs can respond to all these demands, helping you become a Profit and Growth Expert, provide tax planning services, and master QuickBooks, the leading software used by small-business owners.
The Professional Bookkeeper (PB) Program enables you to do what most accountants can’t: specialize in small-business accounting services. After just 60 hours, you can become a Profit and Growth Expert, a financial advisor who enhances and/or turns around promising small businesses by providing direction in controlling cash effectively, reducing and minimizing expenses and increasing revenue.
Tax Preparation is just the first part of the Professional Tax Preparer (PTP) Program; you will also learn how to advise businesses to structure their organization to reduce their tax burden. You will assist them to strategically place themselves in a position today that will reap tax rewards next year. While tax preparation peaks around the tax return deadline, there is great money to be made all year long optimizing organizations to take advantage of tax benefits and exemptions.
The Professional Bookkeeper’s Guide (PBG) to QuickBooks will enable you to master this software program that over 80% of small businesses use to manage their accounting. Once you do, you will be able to work more efficiently as you use all the features, functions, and shortcuts QuickBooks offers. Not only will the PBG enable you to manage your own books more efficiently, but it can increase your bottom line as you add QuickBooks consultation, help and setup services to your offerings. With hands-on training you can earn a professional designation as a QuickBooks Specialist that will give you the credibility you need to convince prospective clients that you are an outstanding bookkeeper and trusted technology advisor!
Respond to small business accounting wants and needs by enrolling in these three outstanding programs today. Call Universal now at 1-877-833-7908 to become a full-service financial provider.
Sleeter, Doug. “What SMBs Want from Their Accountant – 2014 Update.” 9 April 2014 www.sleeter.com