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SMEs must transform the role of their finance functions to fuel growth and create jobs

6th October, 2011

SMEs (small and medium enterprises) should engage management accountants to support decision making and help improve performance if they are to fuel growth and create jobs, says a report launched today by CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants).

The report, Finance Transformation – A missed opportunity for SMEs?, supported by Hays Senior Finance and based on academic research from The CIMA Centre of Excellence at the University of Bath School of Management, shows that SMEs have not transformed their finance functions and that they do not engage management accountants in supporting decision making to the same extent as leading companies. However, those SMES, which report higher financial performance do seem to engage with their management accountants more than their peers. Insights from the report reveal how they do this by providing better management information.

To date most businesses have only responded tactically to the downturn, hoping to survive until the situation recovers to business as usual. But a more strategic response may be required to address structural change as many businesses will have to make difficult decisions if they are to survive and thrive. They will have to balance cutting operating costs but still be prepared to invest in developing their competitive position, which can prove challenging.

Harold Baird, CIMA President, said:

“The owners of SMEs need to engage management accountants in decision making. Otherwise, the potential of their business to generate wealth may be limited. The drivers of cost, risk and value might not be analysed to identify opportunities and manage performance for the long run. Should this not happen false economies will be made. This would be a shame because the UK economy is looking to and requires SMEs to generate wealth and create jobs.”

Nik Pratap, Director at Hays Senior Finance, commented:

“There is a strong belief that SMEs hold the key for more significant growth in the UK, but success depends on having access to strong finance experts. SMEs need finance professionals with strong commercial and change management skills, and who have the ability to work with key stakeholders to support bids, customer profitability, pricing, sales and marketing activity if they are to capitalise on the recovery.”



For press enquiries please contact:
Claire Grewer
Press Officer, CIMA
T. +44 (0)20 8849 2300

Emma Price
PR Manager, Hays UK & Ireland
+44 (0)20 7259 8821
M: +44 (0)7889 644 102


Notes to Editors

The report Finance Transformation – A missed opportunity for SMEs? supported by Hays Senior Finance, is based on research by the CIMA Centre of Excellence at the University of Bath School of Management and is available to download from

1. The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, founded in 1919, is the world’s leading and largest professional body of Management Accountants, with 183,000 members and students operating in 168 countries, working at the heart of business. CIMA members and students work in industry, commerce, the public sector and not-for-profit organisations. CIMA works closely with employers and sponsors leading-edge research, constantly updating its qualification, professional experience requirements and continuing professional development to ensure it remains the employers’ choice when recruiting financially-trained business leaders.

Professionalism and ethics are at the core of CIMA’s activities with every member and student bound by rigorous standards so that integrity, expertise and vision are brought together.

CIMA is proud to be the first professional accounting body to offer a truly global product in the fast-moving area of Islamic Finance.

For more information about CIMA, please visit

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2. Hays plc (the "Group") is a leading global professional recruiting group. The Group is the expert at recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people worldwide, being the market leader in the UK and Asia Pacific and one of the market leaders in Continental Europe and Latin America. The Group operates across the private and public sectors, dealing in permanent positions, contract roles and temporary assignments.

As at 30 June 2011, the Group employed 7,620 staff operating from 255 offices in 31 countries across 20 specialisms. For the year ended 30 June 2011:
- the Group reported net fees of £672 million and operating profit** of £114 million;
- the Group placed around 60,000 candidates into permanent jobs and around 190,000 people into temporary assignments;
- 31% of Group net fees were generated in Asia Pacific, 33% in Continental Europe & RoW (CERoW) and 36% in the United Kingdom & Ireland;
- the temporary placement business represented 54% of net fees and the permanent placement business represented 46% of net fees;
- Hays operates in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, China, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, the United Kingdom and the USA



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