Year-End SMP Quick Poll Reveals Burden of Regulation and Economic Uncertainty as Top Challenges

Feb 02, 2012 | New York | English

Regulatory burdens and economic woes continue to top the list of challenges faced by small- and medium-sized accountancy practices (SMPs) and their clients, according to the fourth quarter SMP Quick Poll results released today by IFAC.

Burden of regulation and economic uncertainty were tied for the top challenge faced by practitioners’ SME clients, with nearly 30% of respondents choosing each. Difficulties accessing finance followed closely behind with 25%. Similarly, for accountants within small practices, keeping up with new standards and regulations (41%) ranked as the top challenge, followed by attracting and retaining clients (25%).

Commenting on the results, SMP Committee Chair Giancarlo Attolini said, “Once again, this poll has provided invaluable insights that help us and our member organizations better understand the concerns of SMPs and their small- and medium-sized entity (SME) clients globally, as well as identify significant trends in the SMP sector.”

As a whole, pessimism increased since the August-September 2011 poll was conducted, which may be due in part to the high European response rate in the fourth quarter and deepening debt crisis across the region. Overall, in the fourth quarter poll, only 29% reported that business was better in 2011 than 2010, while nearly 50% of those from North and South America said that business was better. Looking forward, over one-third of respondents expect an improvement in business performance in 2012 over 2011, while 44% expect no change, showing that respondents are slightly more optimistic about the year to come. When asked about the main driver of growth for their practice, revenue from new clients (38%) came out on top with nearly twice the number of responses as revenue from existing clients (20%).

See these and additional results broken down by size of practice and region in the IFAC SMP Quick Poll: 2011 Round-Up, which includes the fourth quarter poll results, as well as trending data from key questions that were asked in each of the four polls throughout 2011.

The fourth quarter poll received 2,441 responses and was conducted in seven languages from November 17 to December 19, 2011. IFAC wishes to thank those 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 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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