Financial directors have revealed a set of key issues affecting their businesses in the 75th Big Question survey produced by Accountancy Age and Reed Accountancy Personnel.
The findings provide a snapshot of the state of UK industry, with major issues such as the strength of sterling, European monetary union, late payment and skills shortages all preying on FDs? minds.
But concern was greatest over the millennium bug, with 61% of the 200 FDs sampled saying it was serious problem. Stephen Flowit Hill, FD of Kingdom Housing Association, said: ?Our concern about the millennium bug does not stem from within our organisation. It is more a concern that financial institutions, local authorities and government agencies with whom we deal have got their problems sorted out.?
Strength of sterling was also an FD worry – 54% rated it as a serious issue. Marilyn McIntyre, of Sport Engineering, said sterling was proving a ?major problem leading to greater international competition.?
The survey was split over EMU. Almost 40% counted the issue as serious, but 36% remained neutral. Joanne Lynch, of franchise licensing company Pirtek UK, said: ?The visibility and transparency of a single European currency will put a lot of pan-European suppliers under the spotlight.?
International competition drew a broad set of reactions. Of the group 28% thought it was serious, 25% remained neutral. A further 19% said it was not serious while a further 19% said it was not serious at all.
Asked about skills shortages, 45% said it was serious. On the issue of language barriers, 37% said it was not serious while 31% remained neutral.
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