Accountants Question the Viability of Business Link; SUPPORT SERVICES

The Birmingham Post (England), September 19, 2007 | Go to article overview

Accountants Question the Viability of Business Link; SUPPORT SERVICES


Byline: John Duckers

A leading accountancy campaign group has mounted a savage attack on the Business Link advisory service, writes John Duckers.

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants says Business Link needs to be marketed better and its remit drastically changed.

The call comes in ACCA's response to the Department for Business, Enterprise, and Regulatory Reform's consultation exercise on simplifying business support for small and medium-sized enterprises.

It comes just months after Business Link in the West Midlands was reorganised in a deeply troubled shake-up by regional development agency Advantage West Midlands.

There is little love lost between accountants and Business Link because both are in effect competing for clients.

Professor Robin Jarvis, head of ACCA's small business unit, said: "Low awareness rates of Business Link's work, the lack of relevance to small businesses of support services and a complex and schizophrenic SME support structure is preventing business from getting the support they need and deserve.

"As the simplification programme develops, ACCA wants the Government to analyse carefully whether Business Link should continue to offer such specialist services which are currently more effectively provided by the private sector."

ACCA says this is especially important given the low take-up of Business Link's services - it cites the Government's own annual survey from two years ago which, it said, showed that only one per cent of SMEs sought advice or information from Business Link when starting up or taking over a business. …

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