Survey: 83 Percent of Small Business Ask Accountants about Tech


A new survey reports that an extraordinary percentage of small businesses ask their accountants for advice on tech issues, from data security to cloud computing

A recently released survey includes some stunning information that reinforces the importance of building broad and high-impact networks across industries. The insights also offer an opportunity for MSP owners wanting to diversify their strategy for lead generation.

The report notes that a large number of small businesses are turning to a surprising source for answers to their technology questions — their accounting firm.

Where Are Small Businesses Turning for Technology Advice?

The report from Zoho and AccountingWeb was based on a survey of 400 accounting firms. It notes that 83 percent of small businesses are asking their accountants for technology advice. Among the accountants surveyed, 40 percent said they receive as many as 20 questions per month about technology.

What Questions Are Accountants Asked About Technology?

According to the survey results, accountants are most often asked about:

  • Accounting software applications (62 percent)
  • Data security (57 percent)
  • Software training (46 percent)

In addition to the general questions, accounting customers often ask related questions. For accounting software, for example, the survey’s architect noted that customers often ask about third-party apps, integration and cloud solutions.

Accountants, however, reported that they are often asked about subjects they don’t have the expertise to answer. More than a fifth — 22 percent — of accountants felt they were out of their depth of expertise while 19 percent were concerned about liability.

Why Are Accountants Being Asked About Technology?

Part of the reason that accountants are asked seemingly unrelated questions about tech is the fallacy that accounts know everything about business financing. However, the overriding notion is one of trust. Accountants are often perceived as highly trustworthy business partners for their clients.

“First, one of the most important factors when seeking expert advice is trust,” noted Andy North, the AccountingWeb survey designer. “Hopefully, the accounting partner has already earned that trust, so it’s a smaller step to ask for advice about technology. ”

That trust factor is where MSPs have a rich opportunity to network and build a better business pipeline.

What Can MSPs Do to Get More Business Leads?

“That’s a pretty alarming statistic,” noted Stuart Crawford, founder and CEO of Ulistic, the leading MSP marketing strategy company in the United States, Canada and Australia, about the 83 percent rate of inquiry. “They’re not coming to an MSP for tech advice, they’re going to their accountant.”

Crawford notes that the results reinforce the importance of networking in many spaces and industries.

“It’s important that you as an MSP business owner connect and make strategic relationships with accounting firms and CPAs of all shapes and sizes,” he said. “My recommendation is to get out there and build relationships with all the accounting firms you possibly can.”

Crawford suggestions creating high-value content that can be shared with accountants to build better connections and referrals. Webinars, lunch-and-learns and other content that accounting firms can distribute to their audience. For example, you could create an e-book on data security and, in addition to posting it on your website, send it to accounting firms so they can make it available to their clients.

You can also offer to co-brand the material with accounting firms and ask them to distribute it on their website, blog and email marketing channels. You’re likely to generate more leads and referrals when you position yourself as a resource to help accounting firms help their clients with pressing needs.

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