The survey showed that at least half of small businesses lost confidence in accountants and comes just a week after the government published details of its review of audit and accountancy.
The news will come as a further blow to the profession as it tries to rebuild its reputation in the face of calls for wholesale reform.
But the survey also revealed that businesses admit taking advice from their accountants on various issues, such as employment, hinting that the blow is certainly not terminal and the sector may be in the process of recovery.
Howard Rosenburg, managing director of beprofessional, the online professional services provider that carried out the survey, said: ‘There is a lot of turmoil in the market post-Enron and it is making these guys nervous.’
He added that firms serving small businesses were still viewed as ‘trusted advisers’ and are ‘in a position to build on the confidence’ that remains.
The government hopes to publish a consultation document on audit and accountancy early next year.
Many in accountancy hope the government will not create a great upheaval, believing that UK regulation is already well ahead of that in the US.
The UK review will concentrate on what regulatory functions might be needed, who will implement them and how they are funded.
Trade secretary Patricia Hewitt said high standards were crucial for companies and their investors.
Mazars has announced the appointment of Michael Tripp as the new head of financial services
A new leader, Darra Singh has been appointed to lead EY’s UK government and public sector practice
MHA MacIntyre Hudson has partnered with cloud accounting software provider Xero ahead of the government’s requirement for digital records
Revenue and profitability growth in on the rise for CPA firms, found a survey from the American Institute of CPA’s and its subsidiary CPA.com