Tech-averse SMEs are hindering their own success



Tech

By Loren Webb

Tech-averse SMEs are missing out on the benefits that technology can provide for their business through the use of accounting software, apps and add-ons. 

Forty-one per cent of accountants and bookkeepers say at least half of their small to medium sized enterprise (SME) clients provide paper documentation rather than electronic documentation, research by MYOB has found.

As well as a reliance on hard copy documentation, 20 per cent of respondents say less than half of their SME clients use accounting software.

Among the main barriers identified is an aversion to online technologies, a finding supported by MYOB’s last Business Monitor report, which showed just under a fifth of SMEs plan to increase their investment in IT systems and processes.

MYOB Chief Product Officer, David Weickhardt, said the recent announcement that the federal government will commit to electronic invoicing shows a shift in mindset to make online documentation a priority for all businesses.

“These major shifts we’re seeing in the way Australia will do business require a habit change. Most of the time, those changes seem more daunting than they actually are and in truth, it’s a lot harder to keep track of paper receipts than it is to adopt technology that does it for you. The shoebox should be a thing of the past,” he said.

It’s not just the benefits of accounting software that tech-averse SMEs are missing out on.

Of the 523 accountants and bookkeepers surveyed, 53 per cent said less than a quarter of their SME clients use apps, add-ons or product innovations to help run their businesses.

Those who choose not to use such technologies believe their business isn’t complex enough to justify its use, deem it too expensive or lack the technical skills to use them.

There’s also a large percentage who don’t understand the benefit these tools can provide for their business.

“It’s a common misconception that smaller businesses don’t need accounting software or business management tools, but they underestimate the disadvantage they’re putting themselves at,” said David.

“For businesses of all sizes, having online solutions will save the business owners time, reduce error and greatly help with forecasting and budgeting. These solutions allow the business owner to get back to doing what they love, rather than spending time on paperwork or compliance.”

Forty-two per cent of respondents say they’re the main business advisor to at least three quarters of their clients.

The top ‘non-traditional’ services offered includes business reporting and monitoring, general business coaching and tech support.

Accountants and bookkeepers are well placed to introduce tech-averse business owners to innovations that will help them efficiently run their business.

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