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Accountancy and the drive in demand for SME services

According to the Office of National Statistics, the number of self-employed workers in the UK is at a record breaking 4.93 million. And why? Quite simply, the millennial population has a totally different attitude to their career journey compared to traditionalists. For the millennial entrepreneur – job security is no longer a guarantee, being their own boss can mean more earning potential, they demand flexibility around their other commitments and building their own dream, rather than someone else’s is far more rewarding.

But as a small business owner there are many hats. Running your own business means you have to be the marketeer, the HR department, IT, health and safety, sales and accounts. And it’s impossible to be all of these things within a rapidly growing business. Which is why the need to work with reliable experts in each of these fields is vital for the self-employed.

For each unique business, and business owner, needs and wishes vary. But whether sole trader, freelancer or limited company, choosing the right accountant is a complex decision.

The definition of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) is any business with fewer than 250 employees, and micro-businesses have 0-9 employees.


What an SME looks for in an accountant

Finances are without question the most important area of any business. When choosing an accountant, you’re looking for a business partner, a trusted colleague, someone who will give you the best possible advice for your growing business. It’s perhaps one of the biggest decisions you’ll make as a small business owner.

The top questions small business owners are asking when searching for potential accountancy practices are:

Location – is face to face contact important, are you happy to collaborate online and what level of engagement are you expecting?

Expertise – does your accountant understand the specifics of your industry, have they worked with similar clients before and will they offer insight and initiative?

In 2018 there were 4.2 million businesses in the services industries, three quarters of all businesses in the UK.

Life stage – has the accountant advised companies at the same stage in their business as yours and are they capable of supporting you as your business evolves?

Size – there is a feeling of assurance that comes with employing a larger firm, but will you have a dedicated account manager who is engaged?

When it comes to choosing an accountant, it seems size really does matter to SMEs. The size of accountancy firm often reflects the style of service, with larger firms having a reputation of a more institutional level of support with smaller firms being more personal.

What matters to small business owners above anything else when choosing any business partner is “are we a good match?” And that comes before prestige, and even cost. If an accountancy firm is a similar size to your own business, chances are they will understand your challenges, support you at the level you need and have prices which are likely to suit.


It is estimated that in the UK, women-led SMEs contribute about £85 billion to economic output.


Where they are looking

Unsurprisingly, the first stop is online. Then recommendations from trusted business associates, and through professional accountancy bodies. And what’s on the top of their wish list when searching online?

  • Qualifications and associations
  • Types of service
  • Level of customer service
  • Expertise
  • Cost

Make no mistake, accountancy is a highly competitive space. And so accounting firms need to seriously market themselves to the millennial generation and the rapidly growing number of SMEs in the UK.

You can submit your CV to Public Practice Recruitment Ltd and search for a new role here today.

As specialist accountancy recruiters, we know how candidates think – how their minds work. When it comes to all aspects of the accountant recruitment process, we’re the experts – always here to help.

Call 0333 577 7787.

Email –

Or complete our submission form.


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