SO SMALL BUSINESSES are struggling. This is not a huge surprise.
The fact that they are struggling to deal with accessing finance, or understanding government-backed initiatives, according to two new surveys, merely backs up longstanding anecdotal evidence.
But what is interesting is that these reports are effectively a cry for help from the small business community. It made me think: are their advisors doing enough for them? Do they have advisors?
My discussion with practitioners lends me to think that, on the whole, firms are doing their bit to keep the lifeblood of UK business ‘oxygenated' – if you pardon the analogy.
Of course ‘doing their bit' is pretty vague, a generalism. There are no doubt hundreds of firms that are either lacking the energy or nous to provide proactive and value-added help to their client base, perhaps content to stick to compliance-led offerings. These firms are probably the same ones wondering why their margins have been squeezed.
What is clear from the surveys is that someone along the line is missing a trick. For go-getting practices, it is clear that there are great opportunities for them to pick clients that are either completely unhelped at the moment, or not getting the attention they deserve.
Some firms are going to come out of this recessionary period much, much stronger than others. Whether it's using technology as a tool to change working practices and processes, better marketing efforts to win new clients, running the rule over existing clients, or making hard decisions on who can deliver within the practice, there's still time to be one of the ‘stronger' firms.
Kevin Reed is the editor of Accountancy Age
We look after some 41,000 small businesses and over the past few months have been holding a series of small business forums across the country.
In Dunblane, London, Surrey, Cambridge, Cheshire, Harrogate, Bristol and Solihull, the message was exactly the same.
Banks saying they’re meeting all their targets for lending. Small businesses saying it is still ‘computer says no’.
We’re taking up all the points raised by business owners, at local and national Government level and to the finance providers, but what is strikingly obvious is that with the demise of Business Link, small businesses are crying out for a central, accessible source of guidance, both at start-up stage and ongoing as they try to remain profitable and grow.
And not online. As much as the Internet is fundamental to so many aspects of business life now, business owners need to talk to someone they trust to give advice and support on putting together the right business plans and propositions.
If the Autumn Statement gives more details about the planned New Business Bank, I hope that one of them will be to announce a related advisory service for the small businesses it is meant to serve.
Karl Sandall, Chief Executive, TaxAssist Accountants
Posted by: Karl Sandall, Chief Executive, TaxAssist Accountants, 28 Nov 2012 | 09:15
But are they willing to pay for advice or do the majority expect accounts, tax work and all advice for £450 per year?
Posted by: Stuart Jones, 29 Nov 2012 | 08:55
You may also like
If budgeting is to have any value at all, it needs a radical overhaul. In today's dynamic marketplace, budgeting can no longer serve as a company's only management system; it must integrate with and support dedicated strategy management systems, process improvement systems, and the like. In this paper, Professor Peter Horvath and Dr Ralf Sauter present what's wrong with the current approach to budgeting and how to fix it.
In this white paper CCH provide checklists to help accountants and finance professionals both in practice and in business examine these issues and make plans. Also includes a case study of a large commercial organisation working through the first year of mandatory iXBRL filing.