KPMG invest £40m in bid to acquire more SME clients

Big Four accountancy firm KPMG has launched a bold new client acquisition strategy to target start-ups and small and medium-sized businesses.

KPMG Enterprise is investing £40m in the project and it will be piloted in the North West branch overseen by corporate finance partner Johnathan Boyers.

The firm hopes it can assist businesses from the cradle and aid their development. Since the recession there has been strong growth in the private sector, not only in economic performance, but in the number of new businesses being launched. There are now more than 4.9 million privately-owned companies.

Jon Holt, office senior partner at KPMG in Manchester, said:

“From start-ups in their infancy to more established middle market companies, our ambition is to work with privately-owned businesses from inception, through every stage of their lifecycle.”

“Make no mistake, we see this as an area of enormous opportunity for KPMG. There are more than 4.9 million privately-owned businesses in the UK, of which 99.9% are SMEs – many of which are early stage and small businesses who previously may have believed that the services and expertise of a ‘Big 4’ firm were out of their reach.”

KPMG Enterprise will also see the launch of KPMGs Small Business Accounting service, which combines digital technology with its expertise, to provide select online accounting and tax services – including accounts, bookkeeping, payroll, VAT and corporate tax returns – to small and start up enterprises via the cloud.

The service will also offer access to one-to-one advice from KPMG experts, with fees starting from as little as £150 per month.

Mr Holt added:

“By harnessing cutting-edge technology and combining it with the talent and in-depth knowledge we have across the firm, we can give hundreds of thousands of small businesses access to KPMG’s know-how at affordable rates, revolutionising the market for small business accounting across the UK.”

The launch of KPMG Enterprise comes as research undertaken on behalf of the firm by YouGov, reveals that 69% of SMEs in the North West think the Government could do more to support small businesses.

The KPMG/YouGov survey suggests that the current focus of government support could be improved. While awareness among the region’s SMEs of initiatives such as the Funding for Lending scheme, Business Growth Fund and Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) is high, the majority (65% of SMEs in the North West) have not used them.

Instead, small businesses in the region would prefer to see cuts to business rates (35%), reduced red tape (34%), and efforts to clamp down on late payments from larger organisations (23%) form the backbone of any government plans to help spur business growth in 2015.

Jonathan Boyers, who is combining his new role with his existing position of northern head of corporate finance, said:

“With 42% of SMEs telling us that they spend at least one day a week on basic administrative tasks, the message to Government as we head into an election year is loud and clear: business owners need support to free up their time, and allow them to get on with running and growing their businesses.”

“Innovations in technology are enabling more and more people to realise their dreams of starting their own business but the daily reality of regulation, red tape and form filling can turn that dream into a bit of a nightmare. We hope that our small business accounting offering will help to take some of that pain away, enabling entrepreneurs and owner managers to really focus on driving growth across their business.”

Mr Boyers added:

“With more than 1,500 start-ups being created in the UK each and every day, there is almost universal agreement that future economic growth in the UK will be driven by those businesses who can scale up successfully, making that all-important transition from ‘S’ to ‘M’ and beyond.

“Anything that can ease the burden and make this journey easier will ultimately drive economic growth, spur job creation and increase the competitiveness of the UK.”

Source: The Business Desk
Words: Daniel Pearce

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