Accountants across the UK are becoming increasingly confident about the economic future, according to research from leading accountancy and payroll software provider IRIS.
IRIS generated more than 300 responses from a survey of a representative sample of delegates who attended the annual IRIS World 2013 customer conferences which took place recently across four locations. 59% of respondents said they had positive expectations of their clients’ financial situation for the next financial year, well up on the 36% who said this in last year’s survey at the same conference. Accountants were also optimistic about their own organisations, with nearly three-quarters (72%) saying they had positive expectations of their own firm’s prospects in 2014.
“These are highly encouraging results,” says Phill Robinson, CEO of IRIS Software Group. “Accountants are becoming increasingly convinced that the recovery is happening – and it is particularly pleasing that they view the outlook for their clients so positively. We would expect this trend to continue next year as the economic situation continues to improve.”
Reflecting this renewed confidence, well over half the survey sample (59%) said they see growing their client base as a priority for 2014. Delegates at the IRIS events in Manchester and Falkirk were particularly supportive of this approach, with 66% and 61% respectively referencing it.
“Technology can have a key role to play in driving this kind of growth for accountancy practices,” adds Robinson. “Our cloud-based software allows practices to collaborate in real time with their clients, providing them with greater insight into their clients’ businesses and enabling them to offer more informed advice. At the same time, it supports accountants working from any location at any time; security levels equivalent to those of online banking and automatic updates, which give practices the peace of mind of knowing their software is always up-to-date.”
The survey also reveals growing evidence that accountancy firms are becoming more proactive in finding a way out of the recession. 65% reference ‘making my practice more efficient’ as a priority for 2014, nearly four times the number highlighting this in the 2012 survey (18%).
Yet practices clearly also want the government to be more supportive. 68% said they thought reducing red tape and bureaucracy for businesses would help kick-start the economy compared to just 30% last year, while 63% cited providing tax relief to SMEs.
“There is a clear sense that accountants want government to free up the administrative ties that are holding business back and, in particular, preventing small businesses and start-ups from competing on a level playing field with their larger enterprise peers,” continues Robinson.
IRIS World 2013 is a leading annual conference series for the accountancy sector, featuring the latest updates on compliance, practice excellence and cloud computing from IRIS and industry guest speakers. This year’s series ran throughout October 2013 and was held across four venues: London, Coventry, Manchester and Falkirk.
For more information about IRIS World and IRIS cloud solutions visit http://www.iris.co.uk/.