According to a global survey by Dext, South African SMEs want accountants to become future ‘business partners’ to help them shape and grow their companies.
Younger tech-savvy business people, in particular, are keen to partner with accountants. Over half (65%) of 18-34 year olds say they want their accountants to be business partners. 56% of 35-44 years old feel the same. This number drops with older business people. 46% of 45-54 year-olds want an accountant as a partner and 52% of the 55+ age group.
Many businesses believe accountants make excellent virtual CFOs, according to the data. Over three quarters (88%) of 18-34 year olds say accountants are useful in this role, while 82% of 35-44 years old feel the same.
The provision of real-time data by accountants is a priority for many in the SME community who want to grow their businesses. Almost all (98%) of 18-34 year-olds say real time data is important while 95% of 35-44 year-olds feel the same. Real-time data is still important for the 55+ group with 89% saying it’s key to growth.
Over two thirds (67%) of those polled also thought accountants were the best people to help with tax relief – more than bookkeepers, financial planners and management consultants.
Power of accountancy
Dext CEO, Adrian Blair, said “It’s fantastic to see so many in the business community waking up to the power of accountancy. A good accountant, using the right software tools, can do so much for a business and people are now beginning to really understand this.”
“It’s clear that having a full picture of business finances, in real time, is critical to business success, and accountants are crying out for tools to help businesses succeed in these turbulent times.”
“Recovery won’t happen overnight, but SMEs are the lifeblood of the economy in South Africa, and supporting financial planning with expert accountant advice will help businesses move in a positive direction towards growth.”
A vast majority of businesses polled believe robust financial planning is the only way to grow.
A huge 98% of 18-34 year-olds say this type of planning is crucial for the growth they want in the next 12 months. 93% of 35-44 years-olds feel the same. The numbers are similar for older groups – 93% of 45-54 and 89% of 55+.