Firms claim downturn not hurting

On Monday the Confederation of British Industry revealed that the manufacturing downturn is now spreading to services, including accountancy.

But accountancy firms of all sizes assert the slowdown has not yet struck and that it is too early to tell whether it will.

Even the survey?s co-sponsors Deloitte & Touche, when questioned about the findings, said: ‘It’s too early for us to see.’

However, a spokeswoman did admit: ‘The Big Five agree there is a slowdown in corporate finance.’ But she added other areas are growing, such as cost-cutting and regulation projects.

Although unable to comment ahead of results next month, Ernst & Young said the fact it is recruiting a record number of young graduates indicates business is good.

Mid-tier firms say they are doing well by focusing on specialist businesses and mid-sized companies. PKF partner John Alexander said: ‘Our consultancy business is very much niche, such as hotel, IT and government, and we?re very strong in those sectors.’

Baker Tilly partner Geoff Barnes said: ‘What we’re seeing is a slowdown in certain areas such as corporate finance.’ But he added the firm?s tax, audit, and insolvency sectors continue to be buoyant.

Roger Bootle, economic adviser at Deloittes, said that although there is still demand for accountants, there is bound to be ‘some pressure, but the majority will be on the larger firms, particularly in the advisory and consultancy sections.’


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