KPMG to take on Google and disrupt SME market

KPMG has declared its intention to disrupt and dominate the SME market by telling small businesses “you can pay us the same as your current accountant but we’ll give you more”.

That’s the bold stance taken by the Big Four firm as it seeks to reap the rewards from its £40m investment in its enterprise programme, which includes subscription-based cloud accountancy support for small businesses.

KPMG announced it will take on high-street accountants and the mid-tier accountancy firms that focus predominantly on the SME market, at a Business Development Leaders’ Network event.

Iain Moffatt, KPMG’s UK head of regions, said: “This is the biggest investment KPMG has made in the SME market in the past 30 years. The small business accounting platform allows us to enter a market that we haven’t previously had access to.

“It’s a transformational change in our business. For the first time, a Big Four firm can offer services to start?ups and small businesses for a similar price as high-street accountants.”

Moffatt stressed that while the firm would continue to work with larger organisations it had made a conscious decision to invest in the SME market – particularly the lower end. And it’s actively recruiting for – and building – a new arm to service that ambition.

He decried the false perception that the “Big Four are more interested in the HSBCs and BPs of this world”, stating that over a third (35%) of its revenue stream (£600-700m) is derived from smaller businesses.

“We operate in that space already and we do it well. Our upper middle market share is around 25%; our lower middle market share is around 10-15%. We want to push that latter figure up to 25%.

“We’ll do that by saying to small businesses: ‘You can pay us the same as your current accountant but we’ll give you more’. We want to work with companies all the way through their lifecycle. We’re building a fully integrated business proposition.”

Moffatt also believes that within the next five years, Google or Amazon, rather big accountancy firms, could be their biggest threat.

“The reason I say that is because today, our profession is all about data. The more data you have, the more powerful you are. With big data you can create more-effective KPIs, better benchmarking, and more accurate insights. That’s the secret. That’s what the future holds.”

In November, KPMG and the McLaren Group forged a 10-year strategic alliance to use McLaren Applied Technologies’ (‘MAT’) to fuse their expertise in predictive analytics and the firm’s audit and consulting capability.


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  • Elaine Clark

    More than happy to lay down the gauntlet to KPMG to pick up one of our clients at £33.50 / month and demonstrate the promise …

    “You can pay us the same as your current accountant but we’ll give you more”.

    I’m always happy to learn from others – so would be very interested to see the “more” that is given.

    I qualified with KPMG so it’ll be an even playing field. :-)

  • UKBeancounter

    If Mr Moffatt believes SME clients leave the big 4 due to price he might be in for a rude awakening. We often charge more than larger firms. If the clients shopping on price, trust me, you don’t want them !

  • Peter Hollis

    If anyone out there reading this is an SME client of a big 4 firm then based on recent experience we may be able to give you a better closer service for less than half what you are paying now.
    Peter Hollis

  • peter rogol

    Really? Has Mr Moffatt any idea at all about the nature of the handholding service delivered by high-street accountants to their SME clients? Big data’s all very well and good, but if you haven’t the nous to interpret it in the context of your client’s particular circumstances, it’s no use to man nor beast – and I can’t see KPMG devoting either the time or skills of people with real nous to the problems of the SME client.

  • Acscfca

    On the one hand I’m amused at the thought that KPMG are a possible competitor to me. There is no way in the world that they could charge my fees AND do the job profitably AND provide the same level of experience (30 years) and advice.
    On the other hand I’m also very p****d off that they state that “we’ll give you more.” What more can you give that my client actually wants?
    As far as I’m concerned they won’t even come close as competition. I forecast that it will all crumble as a new concept within a couple of years and there will be tears.
    Bring it on !

  • Paul_C

    I would say that this seems likely to be like the Ryanair of accountancy, however, I think that would be to overstate its potential achievements.
    Like Ryanair, I would imagine the list of extra charges will be significant.
    Like Ryanair, you might get somewhere that is not exactly where you want to be but apparently is within a couple of hours travel.
    Like Ryanair, you’ll need to know how to do things their way.
    Like Ryanair, if you have any problems, expect it to be costly.
    Unlike Ryanair, efficiency is unlikely to be ruthless.
    You can’t script and standardise good advice.

  • David Delve

    I think KPMG may have a point on big data and the dissenters have missed the future concentrating on fees. What business really wants stat accounts and tax returns?