Small and midsize accounting practices indicated that fewer of their small business clients are burdened by economic uncertainty, perhaps suggesting a more favorable economic climate and signaling future growth in this sector, according to a new quick poll by the International Federation of Accountants’ SMP Committee, which represents small and midsize practices.

Survey respondents were generally supportive when asked for input on the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board’s 2013 Auditor Reporting Exposure Draft, which proposed significant changes to auditor reporting. Only a small minority of the respondents believed unlisted entities would voluntarily opt to disclose key audit matters, but most agreed with the proposal to require a statement on going concern in all audit reports.

The poll also shed light on the value of different services and projections for their relative growth. Accounting compilation and other non-assurance and related services proved to be the fastest-growing sources of revenue for SMPs, by a significant margin, over audit and assurance. Roughly half of the respondents acknowledged the value of integrated reporting to small and midsize entities, and about half predicted that within five years, SME clients will ask for assistance with integrated reporting.

“Over the last few years, economic uncertainty has cast a shadow over SMPs and their clients,” said SMP Committee chair Giancarlo Attolini in a statement. “Improving conditions in the small business sector, a barometer for economic growth, are a terrific sign for SMP professionals and for the economy at large. As their clients prepare for growth, SMPs will, in turn, also help propel the local economies in which they operate.”

The IFAC SMP Committee year-end 2013 poll received 3,709 responses and was conducted in 17 languages from Nov. 15 to Dec. 31. IFAC cautioned that due to unbalanced response rates by region, the results may not be statistically representative of global or regional populations of SMPs. For additional findings, click here.

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