By Marcus Leach

According to new research 15% of small businesses say that rising fees is their biggest accounting gripe.

The survey of 269 businesses by, which questioned attitudes to and experiences of accountants, was carried out in July.

Other top gripes were jargon, or ‘accountant-speak’, and charging for communication such as phone calls and emails — 18% combined agreed these were pet hates.

Of the 183 businesses that said they used an accountant, 18% felt they were boring, in-line with popular opinion.

When asked who they'd rather be stuck in a lift with, politicians beat accountants (36% of the vote against 33%), however accountants did score higher than model Katie Price, AKA Jordan, who came last.

Overall, the majority of small businesses that took part in the survey were limited companies (61%). 38% were sole traders, with just 1% operating through an umbrella company.

Almost two thirds (65%) of those using an accountant preferred to use an online service, while 14% favoured old-fashioned methods.

A fifth of respondents weren't completely happy with levels of communication from their accountant, rating them ok to poor.

9% of those surveyed had incurred penalties from HMRC as a result of late filing by accountants at least once.

16% of small businesses questioned said their accountant hadn't given them advice on the most tax-efficient way to pay themselves. When asked if they understood IR35 - HMRC's controversial freelancing tax legislation - 58% did, with the rest not understanding or recognising it at all.

"The number of small businesses experiencing a lack of advice about tax efficiency and penalties for late filing from accountants is worrying,” said Darren Fell, MD at

“While some of our survey results provide an amusing snapshot, we also wanted to gauge feeling among the UK's small business community about the levels of service and whether they are getting a good deal. The accounting industry needs to give companies complete confidence they are getting the best advice and service; ensuring they can fully concentrate on their business."

Join us on
Follow @freshbusiness