Small businesses are a punching bag for experts

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Small businesses are a punching bag for experts

For all the hard work small business people do, they certainly are the proverbial punching bag lately.

For all the hard work small business people do, they seem to be something of a favourite target of industry experts lately - they aren't web savvy, they don't do forward financial planning, they're not ready for the NBN, they don't understand IT security…whether fair or unfounded, the list of concerns goes on.

If you're one of the seven million or more hard-working Australians in a small business, you're probably used to hearing experts say you don't know what you're doing.

Now another voice has jumped on board - not exactly criticising, although they have used the term "cavalier" to label small to medium "enterprises" (or SMEs, as industry-types like to call them).

The concern is that 70% of more than 1,000 SMEs surveyed trust "gut instinct" over professional advice, according to the results of a survey conducted in March this year by accounting software provider CCH (the survey results were released earlier this month).

“It’s not surprising a small business owner will micromanage, especially in the early stages of their business life, but this should not be at the expense of being open to advice from trusted professionals,” stated Russel Evans, CEO of Wolters Kluwer Asia Pacific, the company to which CCH belongs. Accountants were rated highly in the survey results as trusted advisers.

Given that it is the business of CCH to sell accountancy software, it's perhaps no surprise to see them pushing this message. Still, they raise an interesting point - only 26% of people taking part in the survey selected "failure to seek professional advice" as a reason why they think small businesses fail.

And a lot of small businesses fail, as we keep hearing. Especially the ones that don't deploy staff. A report released last year found that 43.3% of businesses in Australia that do not employ staff were still operating after four years.

No doubt many of the points raised in the article above are valid. In terms of technology, for example, there are plenty of ways IT can help a small business operator, as our guides explain.

But we imagine it's many of that 43% who are the ones with the least money, time and energy to take advantage of these tools and find the help they might sometimes need.


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