New Research Shows Challenges and Opportunities for Global SMP Accounting Industry

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8th August 2013 10:52 - Professional Services

Recent research carried out by the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), which looked in to the opinions of 3,678 small- and medium-sized accounting practices (SMPs), has discovered that almost three quarters of them (73%) are already offering, or are already planning to offer, sustainability services to their clients.

Of these, 76% said the most common type of sustainability services they offer was advisory services, followed by reporting (52%) and assurance (42%) services. As a general rule, the larger the practice, the more likely it was to offer these additional sustainability services – for instance, more than half (54%) of accountancy firms with more than 21 employees indicated they offered them, compared to less than two fifths (37%) of those operating as sole traders.

Other findings from the survey, which is conducted twice a year and covers the global accounting industry in sixteen languages, suggested that:

·         Almost a quarter (23%) of SMPs stated that regulation was the biggest challenge facing their SME clients at the moment. This was followed by economic uncertainty (17%) and pressure to lower prices (16%).

·         For SMPs themselves, the major challenges were keeping up with changing regulations and new standards (25%), pressure to lower their own fees (23%) and the issue of how to attract new clients and retain current ones (20%).

·         According to the SMPs responding to the survey, the fastest growing revenue source for them is accounting, compilation and other non-assurance related products and services (35%). This is followed by audit and assurance services (26%), consulting and advisory (22%) and tax (17%).

·         Almost half (45%) of those SMPs surveyed stated that their main driver of profitability was the acquisition of new clients, followed by increased retention of current clients (23%) and taking measures to increase productivity (12%).

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