Sage, the market leader for cloud business management solutions today shared research showing that more than two thirds (66%) of small and medium businesses (SMEs) looking for guidance on Brexit will turn to their Accountants.
The study across 662 UK SMEs, commissioned by Sage, shows that as the UK approaches the December deadline, overwhelmingly small businesses are looking to Accountants to help guide them through the Brexit maze. SMEs who import or export within the EU are 15% more likely to feel prepared for Brexit if their accountant was a top source of information for them.
Against the backdrop of a global pandemic which has adversely impacted many small businesses, accountants themselves are under pressure, not only to support their customers through self-assessments and Brexit, but also navigate the same issues themselves as a small business.
Almost three quarters of small businesses in Wales (74%), West Midlands (73%) and London (72%) say they rely on their accountants for advice. While financial services (75%) and the healthcare sector (72%) are the most likely to depend on their accountant for Brexit guidance.
Overall, 53% SMEs feel there is enough information about the Brexit transition period from various trusted sources to assist them – particularly from Accountants.
Glenn Collins, ACCA Head of Technical Advisory, said: “Accountants have a well-earned reputation as UK businesses’ most trusted advisers. This is true across all sectors but especially for SMEs who are particularly reliant on the relationship with their accountants for strategic and day-to-day support.
“The training and experience received by professional accountants means that they are well placed to provide advice on financial needs, business planning, risk management, taxes and other critical changes. Whilst business environments are changing rapidly, navigating the transitional Brexit arrangements and Covid-19, the technical expertise and trusted advice offered by accountants to SMEs are valuable contributions and key to their survival.”
Sage’s latest Practice of Now survey, which surveyed 3,298 accountants in practice from across the globe, revealed that accountants are indeed rapidly evolving their roles to become ‘change makers. ’In total, 82% of accountants say clients are demanding more business advice and consultancy services than ever before.
Chris Downing, Director Product Marketing, Sage: “Having been an accountant myself before joining Sage, I have seen first-hand the trust that small businesses place on their accountants and how they look to them for guidance on key issues.
“We deal with risk and uncertainty every day as part our profession, so when small business owners require clarity and confidence around major legislation changes such as Brexit, accountants are naturally a first port of call. They can interpret and communicate the best course of action while maintaining a sense of commercial composure.
“We cannot forget that many accountants are small businesses themselves and are equally in need of support and guidance. While carrying out their business-as-usual activity many are also busy navigating their way through the complex changes in legislation, such as Making Tax Digital, or Brexit on behalf of their clients.
Sage’s Brexit Hub is full of guidance and product specific advice aimed at supporting both businesses and accountants through the transition. Click here .