FDs unfazed by fears over economy.

Almost 60% of the FDs polled in this week’s Accountancy Age/Reed Accountancy Personnel Big Question said they are as positive about prospects for their business at the end of last year.

Less than one in three admitted they were less confident.

The findings come as many multinationals including ABN Amro, Unilever, Corus and Motorola, make staff cuts.

A survey by the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply, unveiled this week, said the UK manufacturing industry was at its weakest in two years.

Despite this, one FD said: ‘Business is as busy and shows no signs of decline,’ while another added: ‘Interest rates are falling, mortgages are more affordable.’

One commented: ‘A combination of new products, good people, a professional sales force and sound cost control is driving the business forward in a tightly competitive market.’

Another finance director explained: ‘In an economic downturn greater opportunities exist for leasing and finances businesses as other businesses prefer to rent rather than buy.

‘Providing you have a rigorous underwriting policy then although bad debts will rise, their impact should be mitigated by the rise in new business.’

Some FDs fear the effects of the downturn in the US economy and the knock-on effects of foot-and-mouth disease.

‘People are cost-cutting, which makes a difference and with a recession looming, this might involve even more cost cutting. It may be a struggle to gain and build on business,’ said one FD.

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