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(New York, New York, July 18, 2012)

Complexity and pace of change of regulations, in particular tax requirements, topped the list of challenges faced by small- and medium-sized accountancy practices (SMPs) and their small business clients in the first half of 2012, according to the SMP Quick Poll results released today by IFAC.

Keeping up with new regulations and pressure to lower fees were the top two challenges for practitioners. Their clients face similar challenges, according to the SMPs polled, with burden of regulation topping the list and three economic factors—pressure to lower prices, economic uncertainty, and difficulties accessing finance—nearly tied as the next biggest challenges.

“The results are critical to IFAC and its member bodies gaining a deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities faced by SMPs globally,” said SMP Committee Chair Giancarlo Attolini. “We were very pleased with the high response rate to this survey, which is testimony to the fact that our member bodies, who heavily promoted the poll, are just as concerned about SMPs as we are.”

The poll also included questions on business drivers and outlook. For nearly half the respondents, business from new clients is the main driver of growth by a wide margin with less than half as many respondents citing increased revenue from existing clients as their main driver of growth. However, when asked about performance expectations, the largest portion of practitioners expect no change in business in the current year compared with 2011.

See the complete report including selected results broken down by size of practice and region in the IFAC SMP Quick Poll: May–June Results.

The mid-year 2012 poll received 3,678 responses, 50% more than the last edition of the poll in December 2011. The poll, intended to take a snapshot of key challenges and trends influencing SMPs globally, was conducted in 15 languages from May 7 to June 14, 2012. IFAC wishes to thank the many member bodies and regional organizations that translated and/or helped promote the poll to their members.

About the SMP Committee
The SMP Committee of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) represents the interests of professional accountants operating in small- and medium-sized practices (SMPs). The committee develops guidance and tools and works to ensure the needs of the SMPs are considered by standard setters, regulators, and policy makers. The committee also speaks out on behalf of SMPs to raise awareness of their role and value, especially in supporting SMEs, and the importance of the small business sector overall.

About IFAC
IFAC is the global organization for the accountancy profession dedicated to serving the public interest by strengthening the profession and contributing to the development of strong international economies. IFAC is comprised of 167 members and associates in 127 countries and jurisdictions, representing approximately 2.5 million accountants in public practice, education, government service, industry, and commerce.

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Jennifer DiClerico
Head of Communications

Prepared by IFAC's Communications Department. Contact communications@ifac.org for further information.
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