Survey Shows Opportunities For Small Firms

On June 13, 2002, Intuit Professional Accounting Solutions unveiled the results of its nationwide study on "the Voices of Small Businesses and Accountants." The study shows 88% of small business owners have not lost confidence in their accountant, despite the damage to the profession done by the negative publicity associated with the Enron collapse. But don't get complacent, the study also shows small business clients are not likely to be as satisfied with their accountant's services as the accountant thinks they are.

Summary-level findings:

  • 93% of accountants believe their small business clients are very satisfied with the client service they receive, while only 68% of clients feel the same way.
  • 59% of small business owners feel there is more that their accountant can do to provide better client service. Examples of desired services include better business advice, help in understanding bookkeeping, and up-to-date technology.
  • 49% of accountants feel they would like to offer additional services. Currently, 83% provide tax services, 82% offer financial statement preparation services, 75% offer bookkeeping, and 62% offer help with payroll. Roughly half offer some sort of other service, such as financial planning or integrated software and technology services.
  • 41% of accountants feel that time commitments are their main challenge.
  • 80% of accountants seek industry advice from colleagues or professional trade associations.
  • 81% of accountants feel they may be able to build their business with the help of products or services offered by an accounting vendor, such as client referrals, industry-specific products, consulting services, marketing tools and an opportunity to connect with colleagues in the accounting industry.

Intuit is a leading provider of financial software and Web-based services for consumers, small businesses and accounting professionals. The above study was conducted between April 29 and May 6, 2002 among a nationwide survey of 100 small business owners and 100 accounting firms, each having 100 or fewer employees.

-Rosemary Schlank

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