New ACCA and IMA Report: Delay in Government Stimulus Package Weakens U.S. Business Confidence, But Longer Term Outlook is More Positive

Taylor Fenske
Stern Strategy Group
(908) 325-3866

Jeff Simmons
Anat Gerstein, Inc. (on behalf of ACCA USA)
(917) 673-0024

New York and Montvale, N.J., July 19, 2017The latest Global Economic Conditions Survey (GECS) from ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) and IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants) released today found that business confidence in the United States has fallen and is now at its lowest level since the last quarter of 2016. However, the quarterly report–the largest regular economic survey of accountants in the world—found that the longer-term outlook is more positive with healthy levels of employment and consumer spending.

The report can be viewed here.

“The drop in confidence comes amid challenges for the new administration in its first year in office; the planned stimulus package of tax cuts and infrastructure spending is likely to be delayed until 2018 at the earliest, as the government continues to focus on healthcare reform,” said Narayanan Vaidyanathan, senior business analyst at ACCA. “As a result, businesses are uncertain about the short term.”

He added, “However, the survey also shows that fundamentals driving longer term prospects still look encouraging: the employment index is relatively high and excluding the fall compared to the previous quarter, is above levels seen since the last quarter of 2015. Coupled with reasonable real wage growth, a longer-term uptick looks a realistic prospect.”

This expected growth in the U.S. economy has had a positive result on several other economies covered by the GECS survey.

U.S. companies cited rising costs as their main concern (45% of respondents), followed by decreased income (35%). The least cited reasons for concern were customers going out of business (14%) and supplies going out of business (6%).

Raef Lawson, CMA, CPA, Ph.D., IMA vice president of research and policy, said, “A combination of this consumption growth driving recovery in the U.S. and a gentler than expected slowdown in China has led to a fairly positive global outlook for this quarter. The IMF recently upgraded its forecasts for global growth to 3.5% in 2017 and 3.6% in 2018, up from just 3.1% last year. Given the improving outlook, this is looking achievable.”

Overall, despite very low unemployment rates across large parts of the developed world, inflation remains subdued, the report noted. The outlook for the global economy is promising, with all of the main economies set for decent growth over the next few years. Although a large-scale fiscal stimulus (in the form of tax cuts and increased spending on infrastructure) in the U.S. is looking less likely, the U.S. economy should continue to perform well, helped in large part by a strong employment market.

Fieldwork for the Q2 2017 GECS took place between June 2 and 29, 2017 and attracted 965 responses from ACCA and IMA members around the world, including more than 89 CFOs.

About ACCA

ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants. We aim to offer business-relevant, first-choice qualifications to people of application, ability and ambition around the world who seek a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management. We support our 198,000 members and 486,000 students in 180 countries, helping them to develop successful careers in accounting and business, with the skills required by employers. We work through a network of 101 offices and centres and more than 7,291 Approved Employers worldwide, who provide high standards of employee learning and development. Through our public interest remit, we promote appropriate regulation of accounting and conduct relevant research to ensure accountancy continues to grow in reputation and influence. For more information, visit

About IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants)
IMA®, the association of accountants and financial professionals in business, is one of the largest and most respected associations focused exclusively on advancing the management accounting profession. Globally, IMA supports the profession through research, the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) program, continuing education, networking and advocacy of the highest ethical business practices. IMA has a global network of more than 85,000 members in 140 countries and 300 professional and student chapters. Headquartered in Montvale, N.J., USA, IMA provides localized services through its four global regions: The Americas, Asia/Pacific, Europe, and Middle East/Africa. For more information, visit