Written by Bobby Lane, partner, Shelley Stock Hutter
WITH the stability and growth in the UK economy over the last few years we have seen the rise of many low cost and automated offerings. At one end you have our largest firms offering cheap bookkeeping and automated accounts and at the other end the smallest firms offering a similar low cost approach.
But where are the advisory services?
I have spoken at length of the need for a combined offering of technology, automation with advisory. The large firms do not have the cost structure to provide this effectively. In fact recently I was informed of a situation where a small business was quoted £20,000 for a job that a mid-tier firm could and would offer at £1,500. So if the large firms are not able to cost effectively provide advisory services to SMEs what about the small firms?
Some small firms will not have the qualifications or experience to offer the advice that many SMEs will need in the coming months. In addition and most recently I have heard many instances of businesses making decisions on information that is fundamentally flawed prepared by “accountants” who have given no thought to what their computers have produced.
How does this make a difference to me?
Well, given the events of the past week as we enter new territory our SMEs now more than ever need the support of their accountants. Changes will come at a fast pace and it is vital that all businesses surround themselves with advisers who can help them navigate, take advantage and deal with opportunities and threats as they arise.
Who is best placed to provide this advice? A large firm who do not have the skill set or cost structure to provide these services to SMEs or a small firm who may lack the experience to advise in these fluid times.
Now more than ever our mid-tier practices, built on providing these services to SMEs over many years must be the firm of choice for business owners. You can still automate your processes but who will you turn to for advice when you need it. Make sure that whoever you are dealing with has the skills, expertise and ability to guide you.
You get what you pay for.
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