Accountants cautious on depth of recovery, says ACCA

Accountants are postive about the strength of the economic recovery, but many are still concerned about prospects for their own organisation, according to research by ACCA and the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA).

The quarterly Global Economic Conditions Survey of finance professionals around the world shows that in Q4 2013, half (55%) believed conditions were improving or about to do so, up from 53% the previous quarter. However, a greater number of finance professionals (35%) reported a loss of business confidence, up from 32% in Q3 2013.

Respondents in small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) and small practices reported the greatest confidence gains, followed by their colleagues in mid-tier accountancy firms. Confidence fell among large corporates and financial services companies, and even more so among respondents in the non-profit and public sectors.

Emmanouil Schizas, ACCA's senior economic analyst, said: 'At the global level, the last quarter of 2013 may not have seen a surge in business confidence, but the quality of confidence was improved somewhat, by becoming more closely aligned to actual business opportunities and less reliant on a consistent supply of growth capital.'

The strongest confidence gains in Q4 2013 came from Ireland, where business confidence soared following the end of the country's bailout and fiscal adjustment programme, as well as a strong return to the capital markets.'It is likely that 2014 will be the last year of the recovery and should see a return to normal economic life, whatever that looks like. Recovery in developed markets is still disproportionately dependent on easy money and a surge in the supply of finance in some markets risks creating new credit bubbles,' Schizas said.
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