Small firm accountants as business advisers : accounting for the differences in their provision of business advisory services in Norway and Scotland
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- Working papers (SNF) 
The European business scene is dominated by the SME sector. One important characteristic of smaller SMEs is that they rarely have the resources to conduct accounting duties in-house. Consequently they often seek external assistance from accountants. Because of the ongoing cooperation the small firm accountant has with his/her clients, through the provision of basic accounting services, there is a potential for the development of the trust required to act as a business advisor As such small firm accountants have increasingly depicted themselves as multidisciplinary practices for an extensive array of business advisory services. Previous research indicates that there are substantial variations in the extent to which small firm accountants deliver business advisory services and substantial differences in the range of services they provide. It is these differences, and the reasons underlying them, that constitute the focus of this paper. Employing a resource-based perspective this paper analyses the main determinants of variations in the degree to which small firm accountants deliver business advisory services. These determinants include the strategic intention of the accountancy practice, its internal development focus and its external alliances. The data employed is derived from two recently collected samples of small firm accountancy practices in Norway and Scotland providing an opportunity to contrast the impact of two different statutory regimes.