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Journal cover: Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development

ISSN: 1462-6004

Online from: 1994

Subject Area: Enterprise and Innovation

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UK small owner-managed businesses: accounting and financial reporting needs

Document Information:
Title:UK small owner-managed businesses: accounting and financial reporting needs
Author(s):S. Sian, (Cardiff Business School, Cardiff, UK), C. Roberts, (University of Aberdeen Business School, Aberdeen, UK)
Citation:S. Sian, C. Roberts, (2009) "UK small owner-managed businesses: accounting and financial reporting needs", Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol. 16 Iss: 2, pp.289 - 305
Keywords:Accounting standards, Financial reporting, Owner-managers, Small to medium-sized enterprises, United Kingdom
Article type:Research paper
DOI:10.1108/14626000910956065 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Purpose – In recent years there has been a growing interest in the provision of financial information by small business entities. In the UK, regulation has taken the form of the Financial Reporting Standard for Small Enterprises (FRSSE) and internationally UNCTAD has issued its own reporting guidelines for small enterprises ahead of the International Accounting Standards Board's (IASB's) standard on the subject. Despite this international interest, academic research investigating the accounting and financial reporting needs of small enterprises remains relatively scarce. This UK-based study aims to assess the potential demand for and usefulness of reporting guidelines specifically designed for small owner-managed enterprises (SoMEs).

Design/methodology/approach – Using postal questionnaires, data were gathered from accountants providing services to SoMEs and the owners of such enterprises.

Findings – It was found that most SoMEs produce accounting records, often based on computerised packages. However, financial awareness varies significantly and there is evidence that most small enterprise owners rely on their accountants to prepare their financial statements and are often left bewildered by the complexity of the information provided. With UK and the future IASB standards being designed to meet the needs of the largest small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), there does appear to be a relatively high level of agreement that specific guidance for much smaller entities would be desirable. However, many of the accountants felt that some aspects of existing regulations, such as the UNCTAD level 3 guidelines, were too complex, indicating that regulators need to carefully consider the contents of regulations for the smallest entities.

Origniality/value – The findings of this study have implications for regulators who are now considering the possibility of developing guidance for the smallest business entities.

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