Director or Mentor? found that many Business Links, Training and Enterprise Councils (TECs) and Regional Development Agencies are doing little to educate entrepreneurs about the benefits of using non-executives.
This is despite growing concern that SME directors have little time to keep an eye on the wider risks to their businesses because they are busy growing the company and could use the support of an independent board member.
At the same time, the government is in the process of consulting the business community over corporate rescue which has already sparked debate among the profession that SME directors often start with little business knowledge and a mentor would be a valuable tool to help avoid financial difficulty.
The report recommends pilot training programmes and systems capable of matching suitable non-executives to SMEs.
David Harvey, Head of ACCA's Small Business Unit, said: 'We are led to believe that the search and matching process required for non-executives to join an SME board has improved during the 1990s, with, for example, the growth of professional registers non-executives. ACCA's study found this was not necessarily the case.'
He added that the choice of non-executive director available is limited and just one or two candidates are put forward for interview.
The report concluded that public sector development agencies must introduce a high quality matching process for SMEs and non-executive and should also realise that a change of non-executive can be necessary if the relationship is not satisfactory.
The report was completed through the analysis of data from 45 face-to-face interviews completed with entrepreneurs employing non-executive directors.
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