Excellent article over on The Sleeter Group's site summarizing research on what small businesses think about their external accountants and what they want from them. Emergent Research (that's us) assisted the Sleeter Group with this research.
The quick summary is most small businesses are happy with their external accountants with 85% reporting they are highly satisfied (69%) or satisfied (16%).
It's no surprise that the research found small businesses list accountants as their top choice for strategic financial advice, easily beating out consultants, bankers and others.
What may be a bit of surprise is the disconnect around technology.
As the chart below from the article shows, almost 60% of the small business respondents said they want help from external accountants on technology issues. But a bit less than 40% think their external accountant is interested in helping.
We found similar results during our research on the Future of the Accounting Profession. We found small businesses are looking to their accountants for help with a mix of technology issues, including security, data analysis, application integration and general IT advice.
But we also found in our interviews and surveys of accountants that many didn't have the skills or interest in providing these services.
This is consistent with the findings by the Sleeter Group, which show most small businesses do not perceive their external accountant to be ahead of the curve in terms of technology adoption.
This research echos what we learned in our prior research - small businesses want help from their accountants with technology. This creates a lot of opportunities for accounting firms willing and able to provide these services.