• Register
Return to: Home > News > Standards > IFAC survey reveals number one challenge for SMPs

IFAC survey reveals number one challenge for SMPs

Accountants around the world in small and medium sized practices are facing increased staffing challenges according to an IFAC Global survey of practitioners operating in small and medium sized practices (SMPs).

The practitioners were asked about the challenges they are facing, market factors most likely to affect them, the services they provide and their performance, as well as being asked about their SME clients.

Attracting new clients was listed as the number one challenge (46%), the majority of the 12 challenges received the same or similar percentage of concern as 2015, except for staffing however. For the first time in the surveys history, attracting and retaining existing staff, the second highest overall challenge, received a markedly higher percentage, a dramatic increase from 33% in 2015 to 42%.

Survey questions addressed the impact of eight personnel and staffing issues such as finding qualified staff at all levels (45%) and retaining them (41%) which were considered to have the greatest impact.

Other new questions in the 2016 survey addressed in detail the impact of technology, personnel and staffing issues on SMPs. Regarding technology issues, 27% to 38% of respondents reported that each of seven technology issues had a high or very high impact on their SMP.

The anticipated impact of technology developments in the next five years has also increased compared to the previous survey results. Moving to the cloud was found to be the top technology challenge, as practices look to stay current with hardware and software.

“The ever-increasing pace of technological change represents both a challenge and opportunity for SMPs,” said Fayez Choudhury, IFAC CEO. “SMPs that keep pace with developments in technology are likely to do better in attracting, retaining, and nurturing talent.”

The largest groups of respondents were from Europe (38%), Asia (28%) and Africa (14%). While the top challenges assessed as those rated as high or very high, varied by region, there were notable similarities.

The global survey, in collaboration with lead researchers from the University of Dayton (USA) received 5,060 responses from 164 countries. The survey has been conducted annually since 2011.

The survey can be found here.

Top Content

    IRBA: taking transparency to the next level

    Bernard Agulhas, chief executive officer at the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA), talks to Joe Pickard about the introduction of mandatory audit firm rotation, and the future of the Big Four in South Africa

    read more

    Sustainable investment: Accountants hold the key

    The US Institute of Management Accountants has a plan to remind professionals that they have the skills to take leadership roles in ESG investing. Carlos Martin Tornero writes

    read more

    IASB: progress towards global standards

    In an extract from a speech given at the Accounting Standards Board of Japan conference in Tokyo, Hans Hoogervorst looks at a possible return of the amortisation of goodwill to IFRS, and the standards’ progress in Japan

    read more

    IMA: developing diversity

    At the end of the July, the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) appointed Linda Devonish-Mills as its first director of diversity and inclusion. Joe Pickard discusses with her what she plans to do in her new role

    read more
Privacy Policy

We have updated our privacy policy. In the latest update it explains what cookies are and how we use them on our site. To learn more about cookies and their benefits, please view our privacy policy. Please be aware that parts of this site will not function correctly if you disable cookies. By continuing to use this site, you consent to our use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy unless you have disabled them.