Accountants as providers of support and advice to SMEs in Malaysia

This research confirmed that accountants have an important role to play in the development of SMEs, and regulations ensure that SMEs are in regular contact with their accountants in order to meet their compliance requirements. This provides an opportunity for accountants to extend their offering beyond compliance services. (RR-118)

ACCA research report number 118

Dr S. Susela Devi
University of Malaya, Malaysia


Dr R. Helen Samujh
University of Waikato, New Zealand

The study has revealed the potential for business advice services. It has also identified the barriers that exist. The key issue is the problem of changing the mindset of both SMPs and SMEs. This challenge has to be taken up by the accounting profession as well as the SME Corporation, which came into effect in 2009. One aspect of capability development is the issue of branding and gaining the trust of SME clients.

Around the world, SMEs are seen as having the potential to create sustainable development and poverty alleviation. An analysis of the literature shows considerable gaps in knowledge about the relationships between accountants and SMEs, particularly from the perspective of the accountant, and of the role of accountants in Malaysia. It appears that while accountants have the attention of their SME clients they could broach other areas of service that could assist the SME owners/managers in running their businesses. Accountants need to develop new skills and understandings to deliver the intangible product: ‘advice’.