Accountants and their small business clients share similar challenges of complex regulations and the pressure to lower fees and prices, according to a new poll.

The survey, by the International Federation of Accountants, found that keeping up with new regulations and the pressure to lower fees were the top two challenges for practitioners. Their clients face similar challenges, according to the 3,678 small and midsized practitioners polled, with the burden of regulation topping the list and three economic factors—pressure to lower prices, economic uncertainty, and difficulties accessing finance—nearly tied as the next biggest challenges.

“The results are critical to IFAC and its member bodies gaining a deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities faced by SMPs globally,” said IFAC SMP Committee Chair Giancarlo Attolini in a statement. “We were very pleased with the high response rate to this survey, which is testimony to the fact that our member bodies, who heavily promoted the poll, are just as concerned about SMPs as we are.”

The poll also included questions on business drivers and outlook. For nearly half the respondents, business from new clients is the main driver of growth by a wide margin, with less than half as many respondents citing increased revenue from existing clients as their main driver of growth. However, when asked about performance expectations, many practitioners expect no change in business in the current year compared with 2011.

For the complete survey results, broken down by size of practice and region, see IFAC SMP Quick Poll: May–June Results.

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