Nearly one in two, 47%, of FDs questioned in the Accountancy Age/ Reed Accountancy Personnel Big Question were more confident about prospects for 2003 than they were at the start of 2002. Only 31% were less positive about the way this year could turn out.
But this positive feeling has, in many cases, little to do with the state of the economy and more to do with tough reorganisation that took place last year. ‘The market has not improved but management has been successful in reducing the cost base,’ said one FD while another commented that his confidence stemmed from ‘the work we have carried out inside the company’.
However, there were concerns that this optimism could be shaken by other events. ‘It depends on the Middle East and any impact on oil prices,’ said one respondent.
‘Business appears to be picking up a bit, but it’s very sporadic,’ said another.
Others were more pessimistic. ‘Rising oil prices, a looming war in the Gulf and the housing market slowing will impact on customer spending,’ said one respondent. ‘All are very similar to the factors which led to the 1990s’ recession.’
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