KPMG has set its sights on the small-business market with the launch of a cloud accounting service for SMEs.
The cloud-based service, which cost the firm £40m in investment and was developed with Xero, includes accounts preparation, bookkeeping, payroll, VAT and corporate tax returns.
According to a KPMG spokesperson, Xero will be very much linked into the package, combining their already existing software with parts the Big Four firm built in-house "to bolt on and widen the offering".
The new service puts KPMG in competition with smaller accounting firms and software suppliers such as Sage One. It costs £150 per month or more and can also include advice from KPMG staff.
Simon Collins, KPMG’s UK chairman, said the firm wants to be the "clear choice" for all privately-owned businesses.
“The SME sector is the growth engine of the UK economy and we want to support early stage and smaller businesses that previously may have believed our services were out of their reach.”
Research by KPMG and research company YouGov found that 70% of SMEs in Britain think the government could do more to support small businesses.
The research also found that although the majority of SMEs questioned knew about the government’s various finance schemes for small business, 71% had not used them, KPMG said.
AccountingWEB associate practice editor Mark Lee also questioned whether practitioners would be worried that small business clients might be tempted away by the chance to have KPMG as their accountants at a relatively low cost.