More than 1,000 chartered accountants were questioned in conjunction with Alliance & Leicester Commercial bank. Some 42% said they were feeling more optimistic about prospects for the next 12 months.
But not all sectors can enjoy the same rosy outlook. ‘While there are signs of a return of confidence in IT, financial services and communications, there is also the prospect of a lag in construction & engineering and in retail,’ said ICAEW president David Illingworth.
Karen Woods, director of Alliance & Leicester Commercial Bank, said finance professionals were well known for their ‘measured realism’.
‘It is therefore particularly encouraging that their business outlook is broadly positive, given the uncertainty and concerns elsewhere in the economy,’ she said.
The survey also looked at the levels of turnover and profit accountants predicted for the year ahead, which indicated further good news for the profession. More than 63% expected profits to increase, with Scottish practitioners being the most positive. Some 70% of respondents also thought turnover would increase by an average of 3.9% over the next year.
While 42% were more confident, 34% said they were less so and 24% indicated they had an unchanged outlook. The survey also revealed a less than favourable outlook for new business start-ups with more than half feeling conditions are less favourable than a year ago.
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