CPAs Singapore and accounting professionals are not so confident about the economic outlook for the rest of 2008. The economic outlook expressed by 64% of the respondents ranged from neutral to pessimistic and this lack of enthusiasm for the state of the economy echoes the general business and consumers sentiments. More than half of them (62%) are feeling less confident of the economy compared to the previous quarter.
The reasons for the dim outlook are many. Amongst them, inflationary pressures, the credit market turmoil and the cost of labour are the most worrying factors weighing on the minds of CPAs Singapore and accounting professionals. Evidence of inflationary pressures is clear. 9 out of 10 respondents rank inflationary pressures as the top challenge for the economy, followed by credit market turmoil at 49%. Third on the list is the cost of labour with 39% of respondents choosing this as an impediment towards economy growth.
All of the respondents think that the local economy would be affected by the credit market turmoil and probable U.S. recession, to varying degrees – 15% of them think it would be substantial, 65% of them think it would be moderate and 20% of them think the impact would be slight.
The outlook for the hotels and restaurants, construction, healthcare as well as business services sectors remains strong. However, confidence slips in manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade as well as transport and storage sectors.
Respondents do not expect much growth in employment either. 69% of the respondents expect no change in employment or less employment while the remaining 31% expect more employment.
Commenting on the results, Dr Ernest Kan, ICPAS Vice-President said, ”The lukewarm sentiments are due to the uncertainty and worries ahead – mainly on the inflationary pressures and how badly would we be hit by the US downturn. I think the economy will slowdown undoubtedly. However, the impact on the different sectors will vary. Sectors like hotels and restaurants and construction are still expecting growth. These sectors are not as exposed to the US economy as sectors like manufacturing, wholesale and retail sectors, which are looking less upbeat. Hence the varying outlooks as reflected in the survey.”
“Overall, there is less confidence about the Singapore economic conditions as it is bracing itself for a slowdown this year. On the other hand, Singapore has strong fundamentals. This coupled with the government’s support, such as its direct assistance to the needy to cope with the rising food prices, we should be able to ride through the turbulence,” added Dr Kan.
The Business Confidence scoreboard is constructed from responses to a survey of CPAs Singapore and accounting professionals conducted between 12 March and 24 March 2008.
“The survey offers an insight into what CPAs Singapore and accounting professionals, who are significant players in the business community are thinking. To keep our members in the forefront of the business developments, ICPAS will continue to roll out thought leadership programmes and provide the much needed knowledge to keep them ahead,” commented Dr Kan.
About Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Singapore
Established in June 1963, the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Singapore (ICPAS)is the national accountancy body that develops, supports and enhances the integrity, status and interests of the accountancy profession in Singapore.
The Certified Public Accountant Singapore (CPA Singapore) is a professional in accountancy, finance and business who has the relevant work experience in addition to a recognised accountancy qualification. They are highly versatile and well sought after as business leaders beyond the accountancy, banking and finance industries.
Today, the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Singapore (ICPAS) has close to 20,000 members and/or CPAs Singapore working and making their mark worldwide, which makes the CPA Singapore a designation with international recognition.
ICPAS’ international outlook and connections are reflected in its membership of
regional and international professional organizations like the ASEAN Federation of Accountants (AFA), the Asia-Oceania Tax Consultants’ Association (AOTCA) and the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC).
The Institute also caters for the training and professional development of its members through regular courses conducted by its training arm, the Singapore Accountancy Academy (SAA).
For more information, please contact:
Ms Catherine Chan
Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Singapore