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Apr 13, 2010
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IFAC Analysis Highlights the Expanding Role of SMPs in Advising SME Clients
The Small and Medium Practices (SMP) Committee of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) published an analysis of research on business advisory services provided by SMPs. The extensive analysis includes a review of global research spanning academic studies, practitioner surveys, and interviews of SMP partners.
The analysis suggests that the needs of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)--the sector commonly served by SMPs--are changing due to an increasingly complex regulatory environment. The needs of SMEs are also changing as their demands shift from the use of SMPs for statutory audit requirements to business advisory services, including forming business plans and financial forecasts, identifying and managing risk, information technology, and business valuation.
Although the number and variety of SMEs continue to expand, evidence suggests that SMEs have difficulty obtaining access to credit and other resources. The analysis shows that SMPs are well-equipped to expand their services to meet the increasing needs of SMEs. The findings highlight that an important way for SMPS to improve their ability to meet these needs is by building referral networks, allowing them to expand the expertise available to their clients. The research suggests that referral networks are currently being underutilized by SMPs.
IFAC SMP Committee Chair Sylvie Voghel, an SME owner-manager herself, commented, "This research, which noted competency, trust and proximity to their clients as key factors underpinning a strong SMP-SME relationship, is an important step in the committee's initiative to learn how SMPs can position and equip themselves to better support SMEs."
The results of the research analysis are presented in the information paper, The Role of Small and Medium Practices in Providing Business Support to Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises, available in the SMP section of IFAC's Publications and Resources site: web.ifac.org/publications. For more information, the IFAC SMP Committee welcomes readers to visit its International Center for Small and Medium Practices at www.ifac.org/smp, which hosts a collection of relevant links to free resources, including a category devoted to business advisory services. Readers are also encouraged to participate in the SMP/SME Discussion Board, where they may submit their views on the information paper and other issues.
IFAC (www.ifac.org) is the global organization for the accountancy profession dedicated to serving the public interest by strengthening the profession and contributing to the development of strong international economies. It is comprised of 159 members and associates in 124 countries and jurisdictions, representing more than 2.5 million accountants in public practice, education, government service, industry, and commerce.