New ACCA and IMA Report: Global economic confidence remained high at end of 2017; Confidence in U.S. rebounded strongly, at highest level since start of last year

Taylor Fenske
Stern Strategy Group
(on behalf of IMA)
(908) 325-3866

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

New York and Montvale, N.J., January 17, 2018 – The latest Global Economic Conditions Survey (GECS) from ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) and IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants) released today found that global economic confidence remained relatively high at the end of 2017 despite a slight dip from the previous quarter, with an improved economic outlook in the United States and South Asia off-setting a more cautious mood in China.

The new report found that economic confidence in Q4 2017 remained high relative to the last couple of years and should continue into 2018. You can read the full report here or at While the global portrait was mixed, the scenario in North America illustrated significant improvement.

“The overall outlook for 2018 is a promising one in terms of global economic growth and confidence,” said Warner Johnston, Head of ACCA USA. “Some of the signs of a global economic recovery in 2017 look set to continue, with improvements for developed and emerging markets.”

Raef Lawson, Ph.D., CMA, CPA, IMA vice president of research and policy, said, “Confidence in the United States has rebounded strongly, and is now at its highest level since the start of 2017. With growth expected to hit 3% this year, and recent tax changes raising hopes of further fiscal boost, over a third of respondents expect to see improving conditions. Yet, 25% feel less confident than in the previous quarter. In particular there are concerns, with near full employment, the recent corporation tax cut could lead to inflation rather than growth.”

In North America, economic confidence improved significantly in the final quarter of the year, with 31% of respondents saying that they are more confident about the future, compared with 26% who are feeling less confident. This means that confidence levels are now high by historical standards.

The results of the GECS reflected a positive outlook for the U.S. economy, with all of the main sub-components of the index at elevated levels. Confidence rebounded strongly in the final quarter of the year: 33% of respondents felt more confident about the future, and just 25% felt less confident. Overall confidence levels were at the levels they reached at the start of 2017 and remained high by historical standards. This may in part reflect hope that the recent tax changes provide a fiscal-led boost to the economy, the report noted.

“For the US, high levels of consumer confidence, a booming stock market and the recent massive tax cut could lead to strong growth. Although its interest rates are likely to rise, the pace of tightening will be gradual and it is unlikely to derail the recovery,” Lawson said.

Globally, the number of respondents expecting conditions to worsen now exceeds those expecting it to improve by 14 percentage points, the report notes. Additionally, the hurricanes in the Caribbean last September and falling oil prices in the Middle East have seen regional confidence fall sharply.

Fieldwork for the Q4 2017 GECS took place between November 24 and December 11, 2017 and attracted 4,011 responses from ACCA and IMA members around the world, including more than 250 CFOs.

About ACCA
ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants, offering 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.

ACCA supports its 200,000 members and 486,000 students in 180 countries, helping them to develop successful careers in accounting and business, with the skills required by employers. ACCA works through a network of 101 offices and centers and more than 7,200 Approved Employers worldwide, who provide high standards of employee learning and development. Through its public interest remit, ACCA promotes appropriate regulation of accounting and conducts relevant research to ensure accountancy continues to grow in reputation and influence.

ACCA is currently introducing major innovations to its flagship qualification to ensure its members and future members continue to be the most valued, up to date and sought-after accountancy professionals globally.

Founded in 1904, ACCA has consistently held unique core values: opportunity, diversity, innovation, integrity and accountability.

About IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants)
IMA®, named 2017 Professional Body of the Year by The Accountant/International Accounting Bulletin, 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 90,000 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/India. For more information about IMA, please visit
Download Now