This study assesses the effect of differences in types of client on the use and impact of business advice by SMEs in Britain using new survey evidence from the Cambridge ESRC Centre for Business Research Survey of 1997. The survey, covering over 2500 respondents, is the largest and most definitive assessment available in Britain. Moreover, the survey allows an assessment of the full range of providers of external advice, the private sector, business associations and various public sector bodies, as well as the fields of advice. Using multivariate logit models it is found that size of firm, rate of growth and innovation appear to be the main variables influencing the likelihood of firms seeking external advice, both from different sources and from different fields. Other variables which are investigated include, age, profitability, skill levels, manufacturer/services, and exporter/nonexporter. Ordered logit models of the impact of the advice demonstrate that there are significant differences between clients' perceived impact of advice and the sources of advice they use, chiefly as a result of firm size, and to a lesser extent for growth, innovation and export levels.