Small- and medium-sized practices (SMPs) are a critically important part of the profession: they constitute the vast majority of accountancy practices worldwide and, in many areas of the world, are believed to employ the majority of professional accountants working in practice. Furthermore, SMPs typically serve small- and medium-sized entities (SMEs), commonly referred to as engines of growth and innovation.
There is no standard definition of what constitutes an SME, but Edinburgh Group research estimates indicate that more than 95% of enterprises across the world are SMEs, accounting for approximately 60% of private sector employment and contributing significantly to countries’ gross domestic product (GDP). SMEs are crucial to the health, stability, and sustainable economic growth of both developed and developing economies.
It is well recognized that professional accountants are often the preferred source of advice for SMEs, typically forming long-term relationships founded on trust. SMPs can provide a range of high-quality professional services to their SME clients, including audit and assurance and expert business advisory services.
IFAC supports this critical sector through a number of initiatives to raise the profile and build the capacity of SMPs globally. With input and guidance from the SMP Committee, IFAC represents SMPs’ interests to standard setters and regulators, facilitates the sharing of tools and resources to help them compete in the global marketplace, and speaks out to raise awareness of their role and value, especially in supporting SMEs, and the importance of the small business sector overall.
The SMPC submitted its response to the IAASB's Discussion Paper – Audits of Less Complex Entities: Exploring Possible Options to Address the Challenges in Applying the ISAs. The SMPC strongly welcomes the Discussion Paper to explore possible options to address the challenges in applying the ISAs in audits of less complex entities. It believes this is an extremely important initiative that should be a high priority for the IAASB.
The 2018 IFAC Global SMP Survey found that accountants working in small- and medium-sized practices (SMPs) are embracing technology to better serve clients and attract and retain top talent. The survey received more than 6,000 responses from SMPs, representing 150 countries, about their performance in 2018 and marketplace factors most likely to affect them in the future. Designed to be completed by senior SMP professionals, whose clients are predominately small- and medium-sized entities (SMEs), the survey takes a snapshot of key issues, and tracks important trends and developments, facing this critical sector.
Small- and medium-sized practices may require practical support when implementing the International Standards on Auditing in audits of small- and medium-sized entities. The 4th edition of the Guide to Using ISAs in the Audits of SMEs helps firms efficiently and proportionally apply ISAs on SME audits. This updated edition, designed for use by all practitioners, reflects recent changes to the ISAs.
First released in 2010, the Guide provides comprehensive guidance to help SMPs operate more efficiently in the increasingly complex and competitive global marketplace for professional services. This fourth edition is organized into eight stand-alone modules, including a new module on Leveraging Technology.
- Strategic planning,
- Managing staff,
- Client relationship management,
- Risk management and,
- Succession planning