Large or Small Accounting Firm?

What size business are you? What size accounting firm should you be with? This is important stuff.

If you’re an SME (small to medium enterprise) you’ll benefit from being with an SME accounting firm that matches you in size, approach and issues. Why? An SME Chartered Accounting firm faces the same daily worries you face. There are tax challenges, staff issues, cashflow, and sales and marketing matters to deal with.

Like you, they need to be a “jack of all trades” and do their best to keep abreast of a multitude of business predicaments without a multi-million dollar budget at their fingertips. At present, a number of the larger global accounting companies are moving into the SME market. They have big budgets, big staff sizes, big management, big hierarchies and big talk. But do they have big personal service and a true concern for you and your SME business, your family and your successes and failures?

Slater Chartered Accountants is currently watching the European situation where larger global accounting companies are moving into the SME market. They’re offering cheaper rates and they have big marketing budgets aimed at persuading the SME’s to leave their SME accounting firms and jump on the wagon with the big name players. Sounds awesome. Sounds prestigious! But are your SME needs really met?

The Key Equation. Here’s the equation you can use to measure how your SME needs will best be met.

LEVEL OF CARE = FEE SIZE + PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP

There’s a real possibility that a lower fee promise can result in a reduction of care. Similarly, a reduction of level of care by virtue of a massive management structure and large corporate structure can also lead to a loss of personal relationship. How would you feel if you knew that your personal accounts were not overseen by 1 or 2 partners, but were passed around a massive team of 20 or 30 accounting staff who had never met you or had any inkling or insight into your personal and business challenges? You risk becoming a simple set of numbers on a page. Slaters firmly believes there are distinct advantages to being with an SME chartered accounting firm:

  • You are known personally to the partners
  • You deal with the same chartered accountants all the time
  • You know who you are talking to on the phone
  • You know your emails are personally attended to by partners who work on your accounts and financials
  • You develop a strong rapport with your chartered accountant over time
  • You develop history together
  • You develop business relationships together
  • You get real care
  • You’re not just a set of numbers, but real people and real families running real businesses
  • You’re cared about. We know you and we know your families
  • You’re listened to
  • You’re respected.
  • Continuity and familiarity.
  • Historical understanding of the evolution of your business and your development.


Moving to a big name global concern can seem like a smart and prestigious move to make. You can mix it with the biggies and it even sounds impressive at parties. But could it translate to a lower level of care for the SME?  Can larger corporate and global accounting firms give you the personal relationship you need?  Unless you have a high personal relationship with one of their lead partners, and/or you’re a higher fee payer will they really make the effort?

We know what we think, as do most of our clients with existing businesses who have already come to us from the big firms.

They’ve come to us because they’ve already experienced the biggies and have said they found them lacking.

They’ve come to Slater because they want the the privacy and discretion, the history, the empathy, the personal attention and the kind of accounting finesse Brett Slater is known for. 0-2-3million turnover is perfect for an SME accounting firm. Don’t be fooled by big bucks marketing swagger from the global corporate concerns.  Sure, you can try them if you want. We’ve had quite a few clients who’ve gone to the biggies only to return a year or two later.

And the good news is, if you make that choice you are ALWAYS welcome back to Slater if it doesn’t quite work out.

You can call for a free appointment or book online. You can also email Dinu the lead partner directly at dinu@slater.co.nz

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