Almost three quarters (72 percent) of small-business owners have changed their CPA or accounting firm at least in part because the firm only gave them “reactive service,” instead of proactive advice, according to a new survey.

Conducted by The Sleeter Group, the What SMBs Want 2014 survey also found that over three quarters (76 percent) of owners think their CPA is not proactive enough in helping them.

The survey looked to identify just that: what small businesses are looking for in their accountants, from communication skills and technology expertise, to service offerings. Besides tax prep and bookkeeping, the business owners were interested in receiving more business planning and strategic advice (57 percent), more tax planning (30 percent), and better business analytics (21.5 percent).

They were particularly interested in having their CPA be proactive with technology for their business (85 percent) – though only 13 percent think that their accountant is ahead of the curve on technology.

“Even though most small businesses are generally happy with their accountant, the ever-evolving technology landscape creates complexities for them, and they want their most trusted financial advisor to assist them with these challenges,” said Sleeter Group president Doug Sleeter in a statement. "Increasing the proactive consultative approach to business service and technology information is one of the most important factors in improving a firm’s reputation and the strength of its relationships.”

The full study is available online.

Register or login for access to this item and much more

All Accounting Today content is archived after seven days.

Community members receive:
  • All recent and archived articles
  • Conference offers and updates
  • A full menu of enewsletter options
  • Web seminars, white papers, ebooks

Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access