SME’s go it alone instead of calling on expert advisers such as Accountants and Brokers

Sep 6, 2023 | Finance

Too few businesses seek strategic or risk management advice according to a leading survey of Australian SME’s.

The SME Growth Index is produced by market analysts East & Partners as Australia’s longest-running in-depth research on small business growth prospects.

ScotPac CEO Jon Sutton said the latest SME Growth Index research shows fewer than one in five small businesses (18%) seek out strategic planning assistance, only 14% get M&A advice and just one in 10 turn to the experts for help with risk management.

Despite the unprecedented challenges small businesses faced in the past year, too many still go it alone rather than call on expert assistance, according to the CEO of Australia’s largest non-bank lender for SMEs.

“Small business owners are going it alone despite the unprecedented challenge of the pandemic last year and recovery this year,” Mr Sutton said.

“Accountants, brokers, bookkeepers and other trusted business advisors should be front and centre for SMEs to help them navigate these complex times.”

“Yet the research shows business owners have so much uncertainty about the right way forward. Around two-thirds are looking at restructuring either their business set up or the way they fund the business in 2021, yet so few are seeking expert advice to help them restructure.”

“Any restructuring and transformation should be supported by advice from experts and also by adequate investment in the business,” he said.

The research found that tax and compliance advice are overwhelmingly the main reason for small businesses to seek support from their trusted advisors – this was nominated by 93% of respondents.

Asset acquisition and disposals (31%) and succession planning (27%) are also key areas where SMEs look beyond their own business for guidance.

SME Growth Index data pinpoints key areas where small businesses should be calling on experts for advice:

  • One in four business owners are unsure about what measures to put in place for recovery
  • One in four were declined from a lending product, causing cash flow issues
  • One in three turn to trusted external advisors for help separating their personal and business assets (this is arguably such a dominant issue due to the over-reliance of SME owners on funding their business via their own residential mortgage.

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