SMEs Losing Thousands Due To Unqualified Finance Staff


Over a third (36%) of people responsible for the finances of SMEs do not have a relevant finance qualification, resulting in losses of £2.9bn across the UK economy, new research has revealed.

The Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) found that, as a result of having underqualified staff, each SME in the UK had lost an average of £1,277 due to issues such as tax miscalculations, failure to issue invoices, and payments bouncing.

As many as 60% of small business owners were responsible for their company's finances on a day to day basis – only 26% of SMEs were found to have one or more dedicated employees for accounts and finance.

The AAT's research aims to highlight the importance of accounting and financial qualifications. A third (32%) of SME owners do not feel that financial positions are complicated enough to require training, and 14% considered adequate training to be too expensive.

Mark Farrar, chief executive of AAT, commented: "What’s worrying is that many business owners think that finance and accounting for their business isn’t complex enough to need a qualification, and that whoever looks after it can just learn on the job.

"The fact that businesses are losing money through accounting mistakes shows that this isn’t the case. Small businesses are often fragile, especially in their first few years, and every pound matters."

Expert Opinion
Getting your house in order financially is a requisite for any business, but the issue is particularly vital for smaller firms as their very existence can be threatened by any failure to keep on top of the matter. Sadly, this research highlights the difficult issues that many SMEs endure, as a result of not getting the advice they require.

"Small businesses need to recognise that they should not go it alone when it comes to financial issues and, as well as seeking support for accountancy, they should also speak to legal advisers who can ensure they are also on the right footing from a regulation and compliance point of view.

"The right support network is absolutely paramount for small businesses looking to take their operations to the next level."
Steven Beahan, Partner