UNCERTAINTY over the outcome of Brexit negotiations has prompted a fall in business confidence among accountants, a survey claims.
A member poll by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, released on Wednesday, found 49 per cent are feeling less confident than a year ago, with a fifth saying they are ‘much less confident’.
Business uncertainty caused by the Brexit process was the biggest driver cited by almost a quarter of respondents, followed by concerns over single market access and loss of freedom of movement.
In contrast, less than 15 per cent reported improving confidence, and 35 per cent said there had been no impact.
Half saw no opportunities for their organisation arising from the UK’s departure from the EU.
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“This loss of confidence across the UK is a cause for concern,” Helen Brand, chief executive of the ACCA, said.
“Professional accountants are embedded in every sector and industry and their views represent an important snapshot from the front-line of the wider economic outlook.
“You can clearly see that uncertainty is the main driver. Uncertainly is no friend of business and 17 months on from the referendum the government’s preferred direction of travel on Brexit remains unclear.
“The total cost in terms of investments delayed and decisions not taken is much harder to measure, but what we do know is that this uncertainty is affecting business decisions now.”
She said businesses need a clear plan for protecting businesses and a plan for future growth in a new era of global trade.
“ACCA has long called for certainly over a transitional period post-2019 but as each month passes the value of any such period diminishes as businesses begin to put contingency plans into action,” she added.