Business advice to SMEs: professional competence, trust and ethics

This report presents the results of a survey into the role of professional competence, trust and ethics in the demand for business services from accountants. The data from interviews with accountants and small business owner-managers in Australia and the UK provide an insight into advice-seeking behaviour of SMEs.

ACCA research report no. 119

Robert Blackburn
Kingston University

Peter Carey
Monash University

George A. Tanewski
Monash University


Small business owner-managers have been shown to be reluctant seekers of advice and support, although accountants have been consistently identified as a key source of advice for SMEs. 

The main reasons that SMEs seek advice from accountants are for compliance and taxation reporting purposes. Both the evidence and a priori thinking suggest that this may help to form a basis for providing subsequent forms of business advice.