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Small businesses accounted for 99.3% of all private sector businesses (UK) at the start of 2015 and 99.9% were small or medium-sized (SMEs), according to FSB. As such a large part of the UK economy, and being accountable for 60% of all private sector employment, accountants should be particularly interested in SMEs. Below are some of the top challenges SMEs face and how a trained accountant can help. If you’d like to start or continue your accountancy career and be proficient in dealing with small businesses, our online degree programme entitles you to earn up to a level 5 Diploma for Financial Managers from the Institute of Financial Accountants (IFA).

Challenge 1 – Money Management

Especially when starting out, money management can be a big problem for SMEs. Managing financial input and an array of start-up related outgoings can be incredibly challenging, and costs can escalate due to unforeseen circumstances. Having enough cash to cover the bills is a must for any business, writes Senior Partner of Rawlinsons Chartered Accountants, Chris Collier. In that initial period of start-up and in any future growth, having a qualified accountant allows SME founders and managers to focus on operations while things like funding, collections and credit management are dealt with.

Challenge 2 – Taxes

Like everyone else, small businesses want to pay the right amount of tax and be assured they are not being overcharged. SMEs are often unaware of certain methods that they can implement where they could pay less tax or sometimes they are paying too little tax and will face a big bill from HMRC which can knock them for 6, says website KashFlow, an accounting software company. As SMEs grow year on year, this presents an opportunity for accountants and accountancy firms to consult with small businesses to ensure they are not paying unnecessary tax.

The Management and Professional Accounting degree is based on modules from an IFA Diploma. These modules include Tax for SMEs, meaning you’ll be well equipped to consult in one of the largest and fastest growing business categories.

Challenge 3 – Managing payroll

As SMEs are accountable for 60% of UK private sector employment and 99% of the businesses in every main sector, it goes without saying that payroll is an essential aspect of operations. Once again, tax implications arise, unfamiliar systems may be needed and the management of payroll must be supervised. Inconsistent payment is an incredible demotivator for employees, so getting this right is necessary for any business. This presents an opportunity for accountants who are skilled in dealing with SMEs and are confident with their payment structures. With content based on IFA modules such as SME management and accounting and financial controls, graduates from the Management and Professional Accounting programme would be well equipped to facilitate the effective management of finances and payroll in an SME.

Interested in perusing or bolstering your finance career? Our online Management and Professional Accounting degree is accredited by the IFA and those who study the full degree programme will receive affiliate membership, the benefits of which can be seen here. This accreditation and our academic course content is designed to give you vocational knowledge and recognised qualifications. Fill out our online enquiry form to begin your journey and view the course here.

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