By Professor Barry J Cooper, ACCA President
The alliance between a small business and the accountant is good for both – and for the economy.
While the role of the CFO in the major listed company or the work of the auditor in a multinational company may be the areas that dominate the headlines, ACCA has never lost sight of the fact that the work thousands of our members do in helping the development of SMEs is hugely significant for the health and growth of all economies around the world.
With 45% of our members having at some point worked for an SME, the finance professional clearly plays a major role in this sector. As a body which has long called on regulators and standard setters to ‘think small first’, we’re now focusing our attention on small businesses themselves to make them aware of the value of the professional accountant.
Our ‘Accountants for small business‘ campaign also aims to raise awareness of how new or young businesses can build professional finance teams and why there is such a need for complete finance professionals who can develop with these businesses. ACCA will also be working to build partnerships with business associations, government agencies and service providers to provide practical resources and support for SMEs looking to invest in internal finance functions.
There is a wider benefit to this campaign that goes beyond ACCA’s desire to ensure that businesses are aware of the skills our members can bring them. The campaign will emphasise the importance and benefits of having more formalised businesses in driving economic development, particularly in emerging markets, where a growth in such businesses will enable governments not only to achieve predictable revenues but also to develop and implement policy more effectively because such businesses have a greater voice and presence.
The accountancy professional is a natural ally in this process.
ACCA wants to play its role fully by ensuring that stakeholders in SMEs, whether they are business owners and management, finance providers, government agencies or employees, have the information they need presented in a way they understand to enable them to take the right action.
I have seen at first-hand the work that our members do for SMEs and I know they can meet the challenges and take the new opportunities that this new campaign will bring.
This article first appeared in Accounting and Business, June 2013.