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06 October 2015

ACCA: Small and medium sized practices diversifying for success

The new survey completed by the ACCA, named The Global SMP business model: understanding a changing profession, provides a unique insight into how the SMP business model is changing to adapt to a new reality.

Reacting to the findings, Rosana Mirkovic, ACCA head of SME policy said:

'While at the global level, the SMP sector’s offering remains highly focused, with the core SMP offering still based on assurance, tax and compliance we can see that this core technical skill set is highly adaptable and transferable. 

'A number of routes exist to higher value-added offerings and SMPs are actively exploring these. For example, there is growing interest across markets in helping clients design and monitor internal controls as global supply chains demand accountability and transparency. This trend is likely to continue with our survey showing that over 70% of SMPs are planning to introduce a new service over the next two years.'

According to Rosana Mirkovic, deregulation can spur on SMPs to innovate, and in doing so become more resilient, as she explains:

'It is a testament to the SMP sector’s resilience and adaptability that in countries where the impact of deregulation has been greatest, such as reduced reporting requirements and rising audit thresholds, practices have responded to this with innovation, radically expanding their service offering and exploring partnerships with other organisations. 

'In the UK and Ireland, for example, the SMP service offering was twice as broad compared to practices in the Asia Pacific, with the typical practice offering more than 20 distinct services.'

Deregulation may be more advanced in Europe, but it is underway around the world, says Rosana Mirkovic:

'Our survey shows that practices have responded to this trend by diversifying their services but we also see that for this to be sustainable, practices need to be very strategic about their investment in new services. There needs to be a strong emphasis on generating client growth, referrals and repeat business.' 

Fortunately, moving into value adding services does not mean building an entirely new skill set, Mirkovic goes on to explain:

'The core technical skills of an accountant are proving to be highly transferable and adaptable but planning and commercial discipline is required. The finance profession has a big role to play in helping SMPs meet this new challenge and as such there is much to gain from sharing insights and best practice across borders.'

Full press release

© ACCA - Association of Chartered Certified Accountants

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