The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales and BDO Stoy Hayward have started work on an innovative research project on medium-sized companies, which they believe are a neglected breed.
Entitled Putting the M back in SME, the project takes issue with the traditional Department of Trade and Industry size-based criteria used to segment business.
The ICAEW and BDO Stoy Hayward feel it is not effective and has resulted in the medium-sized enterprises ending up as 'Cinderellas'.
"Many and varied schemes have been rolled out to provide funding and highlight the importance of start-ups and small businesses" said ICAEW national president Paul Druckman. "Likewise, listed companies and those with a public interest face have also benefited from support and assistance.
"Medium-sized businesses on the other hand are a largely ignored breed, and yet this high-growth sector is vital to local economies, providing jobs, encouraging investment and often acting as highly successful ambassadors for the region in which they are based."
Statistics from the Small Business Service published in 2004 indicated that out of the UK's 4,021,390 businesses, 315,380 were in the West Midlands, representing nearly eight per cent of the total.
The Putting the M back in SME project proposes that size-based criteria are not an accurate means of segmenting business as they ignore culture and sophistication. It also suggests that investment in business support would yield greater returns if they were segmented more effectively.