One in three millennial business owners dissatisfied with accountants

Millennial business owners are not happy with the service provided by their existing accountants and bookkeepers, with more than 39% of owners actively looking to replace their existing adviser in the next year

Small business owners gave their accountants and bookkeepers an average Net Promoter Score (NPS) of -3.0; among millennial business owners, the number was much worse, with an NPS score of -8.8, according to research by Xero, the accounting software provider.

Much of this dissatisfaction was due to the lack of attention and advice they receive.

For younger business owners, aged under 35, an adviser is someone who knows their business and is truly accessible. But 23% said they rarely, if ever, receive any ideas from their adviser. Only 6.5% of advisers in the UK regularly ask their clients for feedback.

Rachael Powell, chief customer officer at Xero, said: ‘Millennial small business owners aren’t the future of the UK economy - they are operating it now. Advisers are undoubtedly the unsung heroes of small businesses across the UK, but our research shows there are areas they can improve their client relationships, especially for younger small business owners.

‘This generation has higher expectations than previous generations, and they are looking for advisers to work collaboratively with them, provide insights behind the numbers and make recommendations that have a positive impact on their business.

‘Accountants and bookkeepers who keep in regular contact with their customers are likely to have happier clients and greater opportunities to grow their own business.” 

With advisers deriving more than 80% of all new clients from word-of-mouth referrals, customer satisfaction is vital to the continued growth of accounting and bookkeeping practices.

Research by Xero also revealed that 38% of UK small business owners are under 35 and nearly half (44%) of all accounting and booking services provided to the small business market last year were provided to this age group.

Xero recently launched an industry-first customer feedback tool giving advisers an easy way to privately collect feedback and enabling them to use the insights to build on their strengths and improve any weaknesses.

For advisers taking part in the pilot programme, the new tool will survey their clients, collecting industry-standard information to help practices better understand their customer needs. Xero is also working to better equip and educate the industry to improve their service standards.

The research also found that business owner happiness correlates strongly to their technology adoption. Those using spreadsheets and desktop accounting software were more likely to provide negative NPS for their advisers at -11.8 and -11.9, respectively, while those who used cloud accounting were more likely to recommend their adviser at +20.2.

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