Research Recap: GECS, Climate Risk, and More

Some findings from the latest IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants) research:

Global Economic Conditions (GECS)

According to the latest Global Economic Conditions Survey of more than 1,700 accountants by IMA and ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants), Western Europe experienced the largest increase in confidence in the economy in Q4 compared to all other regions. Falling inflation and mild weather give hope for a positive outlook for the European economy in 2023. The result is not entirely rosy, however, as the growth in confidence has so far had a small impact on the weak economy.

Key findings include:

  • Confidence: Global confidence in the economy rose again in Q4 2022 compared to Q3. It is striking that after the strong drop in confidence in Q3 (-12 index points), confidence in Western Europe rose the highest of all regions in Q4 (22 index points). This is most likely due to the hope that the effects of the war between Russia and Ukraine can be minimized, that enough natural gas is available to help Europe through a mild winter and the fall in commodity prices.
  • Orders: The level of orders in Western Europe increased slightly in Q4 compared to Q3. The global order level has decreased in 2022 compared to 2021.
  • Economic recovery: The confidence index has risen slightly for the second quarter in a row, with notable improvements in confidence in Western Europe and North America in particular. This reflects hopes that the worst of monetary policy tightening will soon be over, and that China will successfully ease its zero-Covid policy.
  • Inflation: European inflation fell to 9.2% in December, which is a sign that we are past the peak of price pressure.
  • Operating Costs: The global concern index - reflecting concerns about high operating costs - fell in Q4 from Q3. This is remarkable, as global orders declined in Q4. One explanation is the fall in raw material prices, which reduces overall costs, and increasing confidence in the economy.
  • Fear: The two fear indexes – which measure concerns that customers and suppliers might go out of business – have changed little in Q4 from Q3, despite the sharp rise in borrowing costs and the prospect of negative corporate earnings growth in 2023.


Climate Risk


IMA’s new report on climate risk, Climate Risk and Strategies: Finance Function Readiness to Meet Accelerating Demands, provides a unique view into corporate boards of Dutch and international companies’ preparedness for emerging risks. The report paints a concerning picture: many company boards are slow to respond to the increasing demand for sustainability.


The survey found that:

  • More than one-third of company boards never receive reports addressing climate risk.
  • Almost two-thirds of companies do not have a specific committee within the board to oversee climate risks.
  • Almost one-third of companies do not include climate risks in their overall risk analysis.
  • Almost two-thirds of companies do not publish a specific sustainability report.
  • More than half of companies do not have corporate information on sustainability.


The findings of this research report were featured in a recent article in Controllers Magazine (in Dutch).


And in a related topic, IMA’s research report on the topic of diversity, equity, and inclusion, Diversifying Accounting Talent in Europe: A Critical Imperative to Achieve Transformational Outcomes, was featured in this article in FINANCE magazine (in Dutch).




A joint research report, Stepping in the Future of Controllership: From Accounting to Insight, by IMA and Deloitte’s Center for ControllershipTM , assesses how prepared controllership is to meet future business demands and highlights some actions that accounting and finance leaders can consider to increase their teams’ preparedness in the fast-paced, complex, and increasingly Digital Age.

Key findings include: 

  • Controllership, still early in its transition, sees challenges amid a seismic shift in the landscape to find its footing and provide enduring value to the organization.
  • The current state of controllership is characterized by a broad recognition of the impetus for transformation, acceptance of the need to evolve, and the commencement of transformation journeys.
  • Learning from finance and controllership functions further ahead on the transformation journey and gaining clarity on a model for a successful transformation journey is essential to empowering functions to set appropriate goals and meet current and future demands.


For more information on these and other topics, visit IMA’s research reports webpage.