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Are accountants for contractors among the most pessimistic in the world?

Are accountants for contractors among the most pessimistic in the world?

Compared to business owners in other countries, Britons are among the most pessimistic, according to research by Grant Thornton.

The bad news is, this could include online accountants!

The International Business Report for quarter 2 shows that optimism amongst UK companies has dropped 9% year-on-year, and 14% since the first quarter of 2011. The Report looks at the views and expectations of over 11,000 companies in 39 economies.

UK business optimism is higher only than Japan, Spain and Greece, countries that have suffered severe financial or environmental upheaval. The downturn in the UK is linked to concerns over the economy due to the drop in consumer spending, weak bank lending and the decent demise of some high-profile retailers.

Companies in the UK expect their profits to decrease as well as their ability to invest in plant and machinery and R&D. Despite that, UK firms do expect their revenue to grow by 4% and their workforce by 7% in the next 12 months. 53% of businesses also expect to award a pay rise in the coming year.

The CEO of Grant Thornton UK, Scott Barnes, said that although this report paints a bleak picture, it’s important to realise that there are some positive signs. Overall business optimism around the world has increased over the last 12 months and governments and international organisations must build on this and make credible decisions.

However, UK businesses could be in for a tough time as employee disengagement rises and many employees start to look for new jobs.

Research from Mercer shows that only 61% of employees get a feeling of personal accomplishment from their job, compared to 70% 4 years ago. 55% said they are proud to work in their company and 52% are committed to their organisation, down from 60% and 59% respectively in 2006.

36% of respondents said they were seriously thinking about moving on and 40% of them were in the 25 to 34 age bracket. The main reasons behind this growing dissatisfaction are salary freezes and cuts to benefits and training.

Employers should be worried that so many key employees are disenchanted, especially as they are an integral part of recovery plans.

Chris Johnson from Mercer said there is a general malaise in the workplace which can undermine business performance. Mercer’s head of employee research for EMEA added that employees now tend to take more self-interested view and if their expectations are not met, they take action to do what is best for them.

© 2011 All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

Image: Bad News Bad Drawing by Orin Zebest

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