How Are Accountants Feeling About the Economy in 2017?

Accountants tend to be a fairly conservative group of professionals, especially when it comes to economic growth prospects.  So how are they feeling about the global economy in 2017?

The answer is “upbeat,” according to a recent survey of accountants around the world by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA).

As reported by Accounting Today, the improvement in the ACCA and IMA Global Economic Conditions Survey is mostly driven by the U.S., where respondents hope a combination of fiscal reform, infrastructure investment, and deregulation will boost economic growth. However, the improvement in confidence extended into other regions – especially Western Europe, Asia Pacific, and Central and Eastern Europe.

While the first quarter of 2017 saw the fastest rate of growth in global trade since 2015, the survey found the biggest concern for companies over the past three months was increased costs (cited by 46 percent of the poll respondents).  The next two largest concerns were decreased income (39 percent) and the negative impact of foreign-exchange (FX) movements (35 percent).

Nevertheless, there were significant improvements in employment and investment, with 22 percent of the companies polled planning to create more jobs and raise capital expenditure.  That’s up from 16 percent and 14 percent, respectively, in the fourth quarter of last year.

More details from the survey can be found here.

EPM Helps Manage Risk and Volatility

What do these survey results mean for organizations, and how can they respond?  One thing that struck me in the survey results were the top concerns of accountants in 2017 – increasing costs, decreased income, and FX movements. 

Having a solid budgeting and planning system in place that can support regular, detailed reporting of spending against budgets is critical to controlling costs. 

Having the ability to update revenue and expense planning assumptions through a rolling forecast process is also essential to being agile in fast-changing markets. 

And having the ability to quickly and easily create “what-if” scenarios based on changing assumptions about FX rates, interest rates, oil prices, and other factors can support improved decision-making and increased business agility.

cloud-based finance.pngCloud-based EPM platforms, such as Host Analytics, provide all these capabilities – and more.  Cloud-based EPM platforms are essential to navigating to success in good economic times, and bad times.  To learn more, register for one of our weekly Live Demo sessions. 

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Best of luck in 2017!

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