The UK’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) could be losing out to the tune of £3.7 billion or more as a result of poor internal systems, according to an independent survey commissioned by business and finance software provider Exact.
The nationwide survey was carried out by Exact in order to get a better understanding of the working relationships and processes in place between SMEs and the people they regard as their most trusted business advisors, their accountants.
Among the most startling findings was that 20% of SMEs admit to having forgotten to invoice for goods or services at least once. Among these, around 12% confess to not invoicing for a job worth between £5,000 and £10,000, while 6% admit to having forgotten to invoice for a job worth more than £10,000. The implication for the UK's 4.8 million SMEs – which account for 99.9% of all private sector businesses in the UK – is that they are collectively out of pocket by as much as £3.7 billion.
“We don’t want to blow this issue out of proportion,” said Hartmut Wagner, Managing Director of Cloud Solutions Exact, “but these findings do highlight that many SMEs who are eager to grow are not doing themselves any favours, particularly with so many of them expressing concern over their cash-flow.”
The survey confirmed that more than half (54%) of SME leaders trust their accountant more than anyone else, including their own business partners (38%), when it comes to broader business issues. This level of trust appears to be reciprocated by accountants, with over half (51%) of those polled saying they feel they hold some influence over their SME clients’ broader business decision making.
“We live in an entrepreneurial age, with the UK very much at the forefront of the trend," Wagner continued. "As our survey shows, the roles of accountants and financial support professionals are evolving and presenting new opportunities for them and their clients. This is a particularly exciting time to be bringing our cloud portfolio to the UK. Never has there been a greater need for the two sides to collaborate more effectively and we at Exact are going to be doing our part to support this evolution.”