Survey: SME finance directors want to be challenged

21st May 2013

The level of challenge from a chosen team of accountants is the most important factor for finance directors of SMEs when selecting a bookkeeping firm, according to a survey of more than 100 professionals.
The report, carried out by chartered accountants, SKS Business Services, found that 87 per cent of SME financial directors admitted what they wanted the most was to be challenged on their financial practice.
Interestingly, many respondents insisted they would put the level of service above the overall cost, with more than half (53 per cent) of directors saying they would pay higher fees for better services.
Almost three-quarters (70 per cent) of respondents intimated that those 'better services' would have to include additional advice on matters such as tax, budgeting and profitability.
Sanjay Swarup, director of SKS Business Services, said: "Smaller companies have the same need to drive efficiency as the ‘BPs’ of this world.
"It would seem that many companies are operating their accounting/finance function using traditional methods and expecting their accountants to come up with radical or magical solutions."
Trust remains a necessity among SMEs, although the evolving business landscape means this is no longer based primarily on face-to-face contact. Only 50 per cent of SME finance directors said that a physical meeting with senior accounting partners was of high or very high importance.
The survey threw up concerns regarding the attention SMEs receive from their accountants, with a number of respondents indicating they felt "neglected" and "not important enough".
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