Accountants see pandemic over by year's end; recovery will take longer

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Over half of accountants (56 percent) expect the coronavirus pandemic to end before 2021, and two-fifths of those (42 percent) think it will be wrapped up by the end of September, according to a recent Accounting Today survey.

They're less sanguine about the prospects for the economy, however: The AT study, which was conducted in mid-May and sponsored by ADP, found that more than half of the 200 accountants responding (54 percent) don't think it will recover until after the first quarter of 2021. For more details, and other key findings of the survey, see the charts below.

AT-060420- June When will pandemic End
While the majority of accountants think the pandemic will end this year, it's worth noting that a quarter (25.5 percent) think it will last into the second quarter of 2021.
AT-060420 Coronavirus June economic recovery expectations
Respondents think that it will take longer for the economy to bounce back; the end of the pandemic won't necessarily mean an immediate return to growth.
AT-060420-ACI-SmallBizClosure.png
One thing was clear from the survey: The pandemic will be a disaster for small businesses. A third of respondents think that up to 10 percent of their small-business clients will go out of business as a result of the coronavirus, and a quarter think it will be worse than that.
AT-060420-Coronavirus Firm revenue drop - June
On a more positive note, accountants were slightly less worried about their own firms' revenues in this survey than they were in an earlier survey that was conducted in April. In general, their responses revealed a general, if minor, moderation in their expectations of how much their revenues will decline due to the pandemic.
AT-060420-Coronavirus Firm responses June
Finally, firms shared their toolkits for responding to the pandemic; interestingly, only 15.5 percent reported they had completely closed their offices, while even fewer (14 percent) said they had laid off or otherwise reduced staff.