BACKGROUND : Despite calls by scholars for small business owners (SBOs) to seek external
consultation from accountants, empirical work demonstrating the relationship between the
frequency of various types of services sourced and the perceived benefits obtained remains
AIM : The purpose of this article was to determine the benefits that SBOs obtain from the
frequency by which they source different types of accounting services.
SETTING : Survey data were collected from a sample of 422 South African SBOs. Small business
owners are defined as those who own a distinct business entity with no more than 200
METHODS : The study followed a quantitative research approach. Structural equation modelling
was used to test the hypotheses.
RESULTS : Overall, the study found that the frequency by which different types of accounting
services are sourced influences SBOs’ perceptions of the levels of management versus compliance
benefits obtained. Results show that SBOs that frequently source the service of submitting income
tax returns perceive the relationship with their accountant to provide significant compliance
benefits. Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that source tax planning services and routine
accounting services from their accounting practitioners experience significant compliance and
management benefits. Results confirm the notion that no significant benefit are gained from yearend
accounting services, such as the preparation and audit of annual financial statements.
CONCLUSIONS : The study advises SBOs not to limit their perceptions regarding the role of an
accountant to that of a compliance officer. The article suggests that by sourcing advisory services more frequently, SMEs could overcome the difficulties associated with an internal lack
of financial skills.
This article is partially based on the first author’s (A.O.) thesis, entitled ‘Predicting the benefits that small business owners obtain from their accounting practitioners’, for the degree of PhD in Entrepreneurship at the University of Pretoria, South Africa, with supervisor Prof. Jurie J. van Vuuren and co-supervisor Prof. Melodi Botha. (http://hdl.handle.net/2263/67864)
Coetzee, Stephen(South African Institute of Chartered Accountants, 2007-05)
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