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Anyone can call themselves an accountant, so to guard against that the government has ensured that advice under the initiative comes from a professionally qualified accountant, such as a member of ACCA. What this means is that small businesses will feel safe in the knowledge that the accountant giving them business advice has passed a rigorous set of professional exams, has already attained experience as a practising accountant, is bound by a code of ethics and conduct, and is regulated by a professional body. They will also have professional indemnity insurance to guard against risk
—Glenn Collins, head of technical advisory, ACCA UK

Small businesses could get up to £2,000 under government initiative

The UK’s smallest businesses could get up to £2,000 to spend on professional business advice from an ACCA Accountant (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants), under a government initiative delivered by small business network Enterprise Nation. 

The Growth Voucher project, which is being jointly run with the Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS), the Cabinet Office and other organisations, will see up to 15,000 small businesses receive a maximum contribution of £2,000 from the government in order to seek advice and professional support across five key areas: sales and marketing; management and leadership; access to finance; employment relations; and making the most of digital technologies. 

Glenn Collins, head of technical advisory at ACCA UK, said: 'This initiative is aimed at businesses with less than 50 employees. Rather than simply throw money at them, the Growth Voucher project links funds to valuable advice from professionally qualified accountants that small businesses need as they look to grow, whether that be through accessing finance, exploiting the assets within the small business or through looking to export to new markets. 

'ACCA has been working with BIS since the inception of the scheme and is one of the founding professional bodies populating a Growth Vouchers marketplace where the business receiving a voucher will be helped to find advisers with whom they can spend the voucher.'

True professionals

The Growth Voucher scheme has built in safeguards to ensure the advice and support small enterprises gain from the project comes from professionally qualified accountants. 

Glenn Collins explains: 'Anyone can call themselves an accountant, so to guard against that the government has ensured that advice under the initiative comes from a professionally qualified accountant, such as a member of ACCA. What this means is that small businesses will feel safe in the knowledge that the accountant giving them business advice has passed a rigorous set of professional exams, has already attained experience as a practising accountant, is bound by a code of ethics and conduct, and is regulated by a professional body. They will also have professional indemnity insurance to guard against risk. 

'This means a small business’ trusted business advisor under the scheme will meet the highest global standards. There is a misconception that accountants simply handle the books within a business. However, they also provide services covering both legal and planning elements to help a business such as tax compliance and planning advice, recordkeeping and reporting, forecasting and looking for the right type and mix of finance, and employment and payroll support.

'Under the Growth Voucher scheme, businesses that qualify for it will have access to this kind of support.'

  • Find out more about the Growth Vouchers project and how to apply for it; plus general information about how ACCA accountants support businesses, via the 'Related Links' section, left of this article.