The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) this week published the latest edition of their Global Economic Conditions Survey (GECS). This publication highlights a reduction in the level of confidence of accounting professionals globally. This shows a downward trend over the last three quarters of 2023.
The global economy is showing modest growth, according to the report. Trends vary by region, with a recovery in North America during the last quarter, following a decline in the third quarter of 2023. South Asia and the Middle East are also showing signs of improvement. But Western Europe and Asia-Pacific are seeing declines, potentially linked to concerns about China's economic recovery. “The progress observed on the African continent was erased by the fall in confidence in the last quarter,” we can read.
Accountants are expressing concerns about possible customer and supplier bankruptcies, in line with past trends. Growing bankruptcies and tight monetary policies raise concerns for 2024.
The main risks identified include economic risk, employee retention and changes to legal frameworks. The survey conducted by ACCA and IMA reveals key indicators on economic activity. The latest study, carried out at the end of the last quarter of 2023 among almost 1,500 participants worldwide, shows continued concerns about high costs.
“Accountants' concerns about rising costs are less severe compared to the previous quarter. But they remain high compared to historical trends. This may indicate that financial market expectations may be overly optimistic about the timing and scale of central bank rate cuts in 2024,” says Jonathan Ashworth, chief economist at ACCA.