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Research reveals a quarter of small businesses saved by advisor support

Accountants and bookkeepers provide essential financial and emotional support to help small business owners through the pandemic

Almost one in four (23 per cent) of all Australian small business owners admit they would have struggled to manage the impacts of COVID-19 had it not been for the support of their accountant or bookkeeper (advisor). That number increases to 42 per cent for millennial business owners.

The new QuickBooks COVID-19 Recovery Report conducted by YouGov with more than 500 small business owners with fewer than 10 employees between 15-29 June 2020 reveals the extent to which advisors have helped Australian small businesses navigate the tumultuous business environment caused by the pandemic.

Key findings include:

·        Three quarters (74 per cent) of small business owners turned to an advisor for support during the pandemic

·        Advisors were particularly crucial to millennial business owners, with 94 per cent of millennial respondents engaging their services

·        More than a quarter (27 per cent) of small business owners turned to their advisor for emotional support. This number increased to 48 per cent for millennial business owners

Natira Drayton, Vice President and Country Manager, Intuit QuickBooks Australia, said “Advisors are the hidden heroes supporting the Australian small business community through this pandemic, often burning the midnight oil to help their clients access vital government stimulus and improve cash flow.

“Accountants and bookkeepers have been putting in long hours, often without payment, to help small business owners not just survive, but in many cases, get on top of their cash flow, pivot and find new revenue streams. They’ve also gone above and beyond, providing a huge amount of emotional support, which is commendable and inspiring at this time of need.”

Small business owner, Kemal of Atez Electrics in Melbourne, described his relationship with his advisor as pivotal to his business’ survival, “As soon as this happened, I was on the phone with my advisor immediately. She’s like my counsellor. She put things into place so I didn’t have to hit the panic button. Lauretta changed the game for me.”

Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash added her support to the mammoth role Australian accountants and small business advisors have played in helping to keep Australian small businesses afloat.

“Australia’s 3.5 million small businesses have been hit hard by COVID-19.  I commend the efforts of the small business advisor community for everything they have done and continue to do to ensure small businesses have access to the information and advice they need during this trying time. It’s important that we recognise their contribution, assisting Australian business owners navigate through this unprecedented global event,” Minister Cash said.

Covid-19 Changes

When comparing research conducted with small business owners prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, paying for the advice of an accountant or bookkeeper is now the number one tip small business owners would give to someone looking to start their own business. Pre-Covid-19, the top advice was to start their business as a side hustle.

More small businesses have now built relationships with an advisor during the pandemic with the research showing, compared to pre-Covid, there has been a 23 per cent increase in Australian small businesses paying for the support of an accountant or bookkeeper.

Saying Thanks

To encourage small business owners to express their appreciation for their advisor, Intuit QuickBooks Australia has teamed up with Australian digital start-up Cardly, to make it easy for small businesses to send personalised messages of thanks to their advisors in the form of greeting cards. Four specially commissioned cards, illustrated by Melbourne-based artist Lyndsey Knight, are now available on the Cardly platform for small business owners to select from.

“We know there’s a lot of warm feelings on both sides when it comes to small businesses and their advisors, but sometimes we’re just too busy to let people know how we really feel. A personalised thank you note can go a long way towards letting advisors know their dedication hasn’t gone unnoticed,” added Drayton.