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As a result of this more pessimistic macro outlook, business investment and capacity building have fallen, even though they have both been recovering strongly over the past two years.

Ireland’s strong bounce-back - one of the major economic stories of 2013 - appears to have come to an end in early 2014, according to the latest findings of the largest regular economic survey of finance professionals around the world.

While the second quarter of 2014 saw a marginal upturn in business opportunities in Ireland, demand weakened and access to growth capital tightened, according to the Global Economic Conditions Survey (GECS), carried out jointly by ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) and IMA (the Institute of Management Accountants). 

Although the change in business confidence between Q1 and Q2 2014 is statistically negligible, this apparent stability is the result of dwindling business opportunities and an improving investment environment cancelling each other out, according to the report’s findings.

Q2 saw a very marginal fall in business confidence, with 34% of respondents reporting confidence gains (up from 32% in the previous quarter) and 22% reporting a loss of confidence (down from 23% in the first quarter of 2014).

But while Irish finance professionals remained relatively upbeat about their organisations’ prospects, their views about the Irish economy have started to become more pessimistic. 

In the second quarter of 2014, 37% of respondents (an increase from 28%) in Ireland believed the economy was deteriorating or stagnating, while 61% (down from 69%) believed it was on the mend. More than two years of constant improvement in their expectations of public spending also came to an end, and on balance respondents saw a greater risk of government under-spending in the medium term. 

Commenting, Liz Hughes, Head of ACCA Ireland said:  “As a result of this more pessimistic macro outlook, business investment and capacity building have fallen, even though they have both been recovering strongly over the past two years.” 

While different economic surveys indicate the Irish economy is expanding, the global economic recovery has once again run out of momentum, according to GECS.

Notes to Editors

1. ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants. We aim to offer business-relevant, first-choice qualifications to people of application, ability and ambition around the world who seek a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management. 

2. There are over 20,000 members and students in Ireland.

3. We support our 162,000 members and 428,000 students in 173 countries, helping them to develop successful careers in accounting and business, with the skills required by employers. We work through a network of over 91 offices and centres and more than 8,500 Approved Employers worldwide, who provide high standards of employee learning and development. Through our public interest remit, we promote appropriate regulation of accounting and conduct relevant research to ensure accountancy continues to grow in reputation and influence. 

4. Founded in 1904, ACCA has consistently held unique core values: opportunity, diversity, innovation, integrity and accountability. We believe that accountants bring value to economies in all stages of development and seek to develop capacity in the profession and encourage the adoption of global standards. Our values are aligned to the needs of employers in all sectors and we ensure that through our qualifications, we prepare accountants for business. We seek to open up the profession to people of all backgrounds and remove artificial barriers, innovating our qualifications and delivery to meet the diverse needs of trainee professionals and their employers. 

5. KBC Ireland/ERSI Consumer Sentiment Index published 13/08/2014:

6. Live Register Figures July 2014, Central Statics Office:  

View the full report here:

For reference:  

Luke McDonnell, Drury|Porter Novelli: 01 260 5000/ 085 7127243

Lisa Towell, Communications Officer, ACCA Ireland: 01 498 8904/ 087 9615624

Aidan Clifford, Technical Director, ACCA Ireland at: 087 247 0205