NAB Professional Services KEY INSIGHTS INTO THE AUSTRALIAN ACCOUNTING ... ?· KEY INSIGHTS INTO...

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  • KEY INSIGHTS INTO THE AUSTRALIAN ACCOUNTING INDUSTRYFor the moments that matter gaining insight into your industry, yourbusinessandyour clients business needs and values

    NAB Professional Services

  • 01Key insights into the Australian accounting industry

    FOREWORD BRETT MOORE

    At NAB, we recognise the impact of rapid rates of change on industry,including within the accounting sector. We believe weplayan important role in backing our customers with unique insights that help them successfully manage transition and grow their businesses. As Australias largest business bank, we understandthe important role the accounting profession plays in supporting the success of Australian SMEs who are the lifeblood of the Australian economy.

    While todays accountants have no shortage of advice, they dont necessarily havesufficient insight into what their business customers are thinking and whatsmost important to them.

    Thats why weve brought together NABs inaugural Australian Accounting Industry Survey and NABs Quarterly SME Business Survey, providing a unique andcomprehensive report on what accountants clients truly want.

    Thereport captures the views of Australias accounting profession as wellasmorethan750 SMEs across the country. Interestingly, while it highlights areas ofconsensus between the two groups, it also reveals manyimportant differences between what accountants think their clientswant and what their clients actually say they need and value. The result isaunique and invaluable insight into Australiasaccountingprofession.

    We are delighted to share the first in a series of studies intotheAustralian Professional Services sector drawing on theviews and perceptions of our extensive SME and accounting customer network. We hope you find theseinsightsof value.

    GM Professional Services NAB

    Find an accountant who wants to design the future, not write uphistory. SME

    We can work with more than just thefigures. Accounting Firm

  • 02Key insights into the Australian accounting industry

    KEY INSIGHTS INTO: The Australian accounting industry

    Customer insights reallydo matter 03

    The trusted profession 04

    There are ample opportunities and demand for work 05

    Understanding clients needs andvalues 06

    SME businesses dont believe they have adequate financial literacy 07

    Retaining, and gaining, clients isnt necessarily the issue 08

    Client recommendations arecritical 09

    IT may not be everything 10

    Its about more than money 11

    Good prospects for growth 12

    CONTENTS

  • KEY INSIGHTS INTO THE AUSTRALIAN ACCOUNTING INDUSTRY

    03Key insights into the Australian accounting industry

    Customer insights reallydo matter

    Not only are accountants in demand, they are generally well regarded, NABs inaugural Australian Accounting Industry Survey reveals. Nevertheless, many in the profession dont seem to be fully aware of the opportunity this presents, nor how bestto capture it.

    In order to succeed, its critical that accountants understand and respond to what their business customers really want. As small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) evolve they require more diverse and more sophisticated services. Understanding their needs and growing with them is a core element of retaining them.

    We require accuracy andprofessionalism, butwith a human touch. SME

    All businesses are different and have different needs. Ineed you to tailor my accounting to suit my business and not some generic all-encompassing program. Listen to what Ineed. SME

    In order to succeed, its critical that accountants understand what their business customers really want.

  • KEY INSIGHTS INTO THE AUSTRALIAN ACCOUNTING INDUSTRY

    04Key insights into the Australian accounting industry

    The trusted profession

    Accountants are considered the most important professional services provider by all SMEs, irrespective of location and turnover. Its little wonder, then, that most SMEs turn to accounting firms more than to any other professional services firm. (Larger businesses with a turnover of $20 million-plus are the exception here: theyre more likely to use a lawyer.)

    Nearly all SMEs (96 per cent) have used a professional services firm at some time in their business journey. Accountants have been pivotal, with almost nine in 10 SMEs (85 per cent) relying on their services at some point and a similar proportion (82 per cent) having turned to one within the past two years. The next most popular service is provided by lawyers, with eight in 10 SMEs having used their services although only 67 per cent within the past two years.

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    Accountants are the most important professional services provider in terms of SMEs business performance

    Accountants are SMEs most trusted business adviser

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    Overall Financial planning Business planning Technology planning

    SMEs also consider accountants their mosttrusted business advisers just over half putting them in top place. Morespecifically, accountants are the mosttrusted profession when it comes to financial services (47 per cent) and businessplanning (39 per cent).

    Interestingly, regional businesses are morelikely to trust their accountant compared to those in metropolitan areas (63 per cent versus 52 per cent), as are businesses with a turnover of $10 million to $20 million compared to those with turnovers of $20 million-plus (59 per cent versus 45 per cent).

  • KEY INSIGHTS INTO THE AUSTRALIAN ACCOUNTING INDUSTRY

    05Key insights into the Australian accounting industry

    There are ample opportunities and demand for work

    At the same time, accountants are well placed with their service offerings to meet most of the services that businesses turn to professional services firms for.

    Businesses use professional services providers for a number of reasons most typically for legal services (used by 61 per cent of businesses), tax return preparation (52 per cent), audit (44 per cent), technology and IT services (42 per cent), tax planning (40 per cent) and insurance broking (35 per cent). The services used by businesses typically dont change much by business location, although there are some differences by turnover.

    On average, the number of accountants offering professional services used by businesses exceeds demand in most areas except, not surprisingly, in technology andIT, legal services, insurance broking andleasing.

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    Accountants Businesses

    What services do SMEs turn to professional services firms for and which do accountants offer?

    Businesses see growth in ITandlegal

    Are accounting firms making the most of the opportunities out there? Not necessarily.

    While accountants have benefited from some of the fastest growth areas of business services tax planning, business strategy and tax return preparation there are signs they are missing out in the areas that businesses see as growing most rapidly.

    Almost half (46 per cent) of SMEs view technology/IT services as the fastest-growing services, while legal services are also seen (by 26 per cent) as being on the rise. In contrast, only 13 per cent of accounting firms identify technology as the