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How Are You Feeling About the Outlook for Small Business in 2011?

Mar 7th 2011
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In my last blog article I talked about Intuit's research on what 2020 might look like.  So, what is business like for you today?  Now that busy season is under way - has business picked up year over year?  Have you implemented new technology in your business to meet today's competitive demands?  Has communication with your clients changed?

When putting a business plan together - it is not only important to plan for 3-5 years in the future, but it is also important to plan for today, 6 months from now, 1 year from now.  Taking incremental steps in strategically planning your business is key to accomplishing the growth you want and meeting your business objectives.

Intuit recently completed another survey with Intuit Customers consisting of Accounting Professionals and Small Business Owners that began in Oct 2010.  These results can give you some insight into where your peers are investing and spending their time in their practices; as well as, what do your clients think is important as well.

A summary of results were the following:

  • 65 % of accounting professionals and 54 % of small business owners said their companies grew in the last 12 months. Despite this growth, 75 % of accounting professionals and 80 % of small business owners rate today's economic climate as "just fair" or "poor."
  • Both groups expressed optimism for the future, with 94 % of accounting professionals and 87 % of small business owners seeing opportunities to grow their businesses in today's economy.

When asked how important each of the following is when it comes to growing their business in the next 12 months, the results were the following:

  Accounting Professionals Small Business Owners
Investing in New Technology 69% 53%
Having Access to Industry New &/or Trends 77% 65%
Employee Training &/or Professional Development 67% 53%
Marketing &/or Advertising 59% 73%
Expand Your Range of Offerings 45% 57%

Some other interesting findings:

  • 38% of accountants currently use online applications to access their accounting and financial records through the web; just 29% of small business owners currently do so.
  • While just 38% of accountants currently use online applications to access their accounting and financial records, nearly three-quarters (74% important) believe that these kinds of online applications will be integral to the accounting firm of the future.
  • Email (60%) and telephone (54%) are the most common ways for small business owners to communicate with their accountants and financial professionals on a regular basis.
  • 64% of small businesses also value occasional face-to-face check-ins with their accountant or financial professional.
  • 74 % of accounting professionals believe online applications will be integral to accounting firms in the future, and 38 % already use them to access accounting and financial information through the Web.
  • Among small business owners, 60 %  see the use of mobile phone applications to communicate with customers or accounting professionals as important to future success, with 29 % currently using online applications to access their accounting or financial information.

To stay competitive, it is important to understand these results and how your own practice stacks up against it.  Do you agree with the findings of this study?  After reading this, are there any changes that you think you should consider for your business to remain a growing concern, or to break out from the pack and be a Leader in the industry?

The full article can be found on the Intuit ProLine Blog if you want to check it out:

P.S. In case this matters to you - or just for fun - Which Beatle do your think would make the Best Accountant?  Here were the results of Intuit's survey:

  Accounting Professionals Small Business Owners
Paul McCartney 53% 50%
George Harrison 24% 22%
Ringo Starr 12% 15%
John Lennon 11% 14%

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