As part of its annual Pulse market research survey, Sage questioned 178 business people and 198 accountants to investigate the relationship between advisers and their clients, and how it has been affected by the economic downturn.
In this extract, Sage Accountants Divsion managing director Greg Ford and accountant Paul Clark compare the findings of this year's Pulse survey against last year.
75% of practitioners say that they are the first port of call for advice for businesses (up from 35% in 2008)
Accountants' perception of their client's key sources of business advice (besides accountants) are banks 53% (up from 22% in 2008), industry trade associations 31% (up from 7% in 2008) and the internet 35% (not asked previously)
Key accountants' services being used by clients are tax planning 44% (compared to 14% in 2008), management accounting 27% (compared to 13% in 2008), payroll services 27% (up from 11% in 2008), business planning 28% (up from 10% 2008), accounts software 18% (up from 6% in 2008) and IT services 14% (up from 5% in 2008)
In 2009, 29% of accountants prefer email as a form of communication with clients (down from 64% in 2008), and 43% prefer face-to-face (up from 27% in 2008)
64% of accountants last year preferred email as the first form of communication, however this year 43% prefer face-to-face. This could be due to clients wanting reassurance from their business advisor during the recession