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Diversification of External Accountants Serving Small and Medium-sized Enterprises: Evidence from Belgium


  • Gerrit Sarens
  • Patricia Everaert
  • Frederik Verplancke
  • Ignace Beelde


type="main"> The purpose of this study is: (1) to discover which services are offered by external accountants serving small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs); (2) to study the factors that are associated with the degree of diversification of the services offered by these accountants; and (3) to investigate if there are differences between self-employed accountants and accounting firms on the previous two points. This study has some interesting conclusions: (1) the heterogeneity of internal staff is not significantly associated with the degree of diversification; (2) a homogeneous internal staff with an accounting background is particularly important for accounting firms that diversify their services in the accounting and tax area; (3) collaboration with other service providers is an important factor associated with more diversification of the services; (4) marketing is only important for self-employed accountants; (5) accounting firms offer fewer non-accounting-related services if they serve more micro clients (fewer than 10 employees), whereas self-employed accountants offer more accounting and tax services if they serve more micro clients (fewer than 10 employees); and (6) accounting firms that diversify in accounting and tax services mainly serve more micro clients (fewer than 10 employees), whereas accounting firms that diversify in non-accounting areas serve more larger clients (more than 10 employees).

Suggested Citation

  • Gerrit Sarens & Patricia Everaert & Frederik Verplancke & Ignace Beelde, 2015. "Diversification of External Accountants Serving Small and Medium-sized Enterprises: Evidence from Belgium," Australian Accounting Review, CPA Australia, vol. 25(2), pages 155-174, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ausact:v:25:y:2015:i:2:p:155-174

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Patricia Everaert & Gerrit Sarens & Jan Rommel, 2010. "Using Transaction Cost Economics to explain outsourcing of accounting," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 35(1), pages 93-112, July.
    2. Robert J. Bennett & Paul J. A. Robson, 1999. "The use of external business advice by SMEs in Britain," Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(2), pages 155-180, April.
    3. Sharmistha Bagchi-Sen & LINDA KUECHLER, 2000. "Strategic and Functional Orientation of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises in Professional Services: An Analysis of Public Accountancy," The Service Industries Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(3), pages 117-146, July.
    4. R. J. Bennett & P. J. A. Robson & W. J. A. Bratton, 2001. "Government advice networks for SMEs: an assessment of the influence of local context on Business Link use, impact and satisfaction," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(7), pages 871-885.
    5. Fogarty, Timothy J. & Radcliffe, Vaughan S. & Campbell, David R., 2006. "Accountancy before the fall: The AICPA vision project and related professional enterprises," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 1-25, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Robert Rieg, 2019. "Selbstständigkeit von Bilanzbuchhaltern und Controllern: Eine empirische Untersuchung zu Einkommen und Determinanten," ZfKE – Zeitschrift für KMU und Entrepreneurship, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 67(1), pages 35-66.
    2. Jenny Buchan & Lorelle Frazer & Scott Weaven & Binh Tran†Nam & Anthony Grace, 2018. "The Adequacy of Pre†purchase Due Diligence in Independent Small Business and Franchising," Australian Accounting Review, CPA Australia, vol. 28(1), pages 127-139, March.
    3. Inta Bruna & Kastytis Senkus & Rasa Subaciene & Ruta Sneidere, 2017. "Evaluation of Perception of Accountant`s Role at the Enterprise in Latvia and Lithuania," European Research Studies Journal, European Research Studies Journal, vol. 0(3A), pages 143-163.

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