Why small accountancy firms are vital in the SME landscape

October 22nd 2020 | Posted by Dave Cross

Why small accountancy firms are vital in the SME landscape

Why small accountancy firms are vital in the SME landscape

Small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the lifeblood of the economy in the UK.

This can be seen from the fact that of 5.9 million businesses in the UK at the start of 2019, 5.82 million were small (up to 49 employees) and 35,600 were medium-sized (50 to 249 employees).

However, many SMEs struggle to survive in the face of fierce competition. This year, they have faced an even more difficult landscape due to the restrictions imposed as a result of the global pandemic. Given the situation, it’s vital that SMEs get the expert help that they need. From a financial point of view, small to medium-sized practices (SMPs) provide a vital part of this help.

The relationship between SMEs and SMPs

Smaller accountancy firms, or SMPs, form strong relationships with SMEs. They act as trusted advisors and help businesses to guard against failure.

SMPs are also renowned for having high levels of agility and adaptability which puts them in a good position to help their clients navigate a complex and volatile environment. These abilities evolve from an SMP’s need to innovate in order to operate with more limited resources than the big accountancy firms.

They work with SMEs to help them understand regulations and opportunities. They also communicate with stakeholders and HMRC, taking some of the pressure off their clients’ shoulders. In the current climate, this is a huge benefit.

The wider role of SMPs

In addition to playing a vital role in the SME landscape, SMPs also have an essential role to play within the wider community. This role includes:

  • Providing support and pro bono services for local charities and community organisations. These services include assisting with good governance procedures and giving advice about financial best practices.
  • Encouraging enthusiasm in the next generation of accounting professionals. Many SMPs find new young team members by visiting local schools and colleges to promote the advantages of a career in accounting. This is a vital role for the future of the accounting profession.
  • Promoting financial literacy within the wider community. This can take many forms such as presenting entrepreneurial workshops to local organisations or encouraging the adoption of digital technology in local businesses and organisations.
  • Being visible in many sustainability and ethical initiatives. Many SMPs relish the opportunity to guide local businesses and organisations through a minefield of considerations such as reduction of waste and carbon emissions.

In summary

Small accountancy firms (SMPs) always provide a vital service to SMEs in the UK. However, this year they are providing more value than ever.

They are using their ability to be innovative and agile to navigate their own challenges while also helping clients to survive the challenges of the pandemic. This help is essential in assisting SMEs to stay in business and plan for life after the restrictions are eased. Given the value of SMEs to the UK economy, the importance of this planning cannot be underestimated.

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