A Developing Economy Perspective into the ‘Traditional Roles’ of the Professional Accountant within South African SMEs.


  • Yaeesh Yasseen
  • Nerine Stegmann University of Johannesburg
  • Freddie Crous University of Johannesburg


Compliance; financial reporting role; professional accountant; SME; taxation role


The purpose of this paper is to add to the limited body of interpretive research on the role of the professional accountant within SA SMEs. This paper explores the perceptions of professional accountants with regard to the traditional compliance roles of professional accountants within SA SMEs. Semi-structured interviews with 20 experienced professional accountants and 20 SME owners highlight practical issues within the role of the accountant in statutory financial reporting and taxation advisory. The traditional roles are not consistently seen as an organic part of an SMEs business process, despite multiple arguments that professional accountants can add value within SMEs.  Interviewees are also unconvinced that a professional accountant’s traditional role is taken seriously within the current SME context, further limiting the interconnection between value-adding services and compliance services. This adds to the limited body of interpretive research on the role of professional accountants within SMEs and offers practical insights for professional accountancy organizations, policymakers, professional accountants, SME; and academics.

Author Biographies

Nerine Stegmann, University of Johannesburg

Associate Professor, PhD, School of Accountancy

Freddie Crous, University of Johannesburg

Professor, PhD, Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management


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Business Administration and Business Economics