Business leaders say downturn will be over by end of 2010

The majority of business leaders believe the current economic downturn will be over by the end of 2010, according to a survey of international business sentiment by CPA Australia.

The survey also shows businesses are experiencing considerable difficulty accessing finance due to restricted access to credit – particularly in Asia.

And large companies are more likely than smaller companies to consider possible staff reductions (57 per cent) rather than cuts to executive remuneration and bonuses (47 per cent).

The survey conducted by CPA Australia in March this year, looked at the opinions of nearly 300 business leaders around the world – predominantly in Australia and South East Asia.

It revealed extensive cuts in staff numbers, bonuses, R&D expenditure, production and capital expenditure are likely to precede any upturn.

CPA Australia President Richard Petty says the results confirmed that lack of access to finance is one of the biggest hurdles facing businesses as they battle their way through the global financial crisis. About 70% of the small companies surveyed say they have experienced difficulty accessing finance.

“This is one of the most pressing issues and one that needs to be addressed as soon as possible before the lack of liquidity strangles business,” Professor Petty said.

The survey found that large companies are more likely to consider possible staff reductions (57 per cent) rather than cuts to executive remuneration and bonuses (47 per cent).

“This is a reflection that talented leadership has never been in greater demand than now,” Professor Petty said.

“Executives who can demonstrate strategic leadership, particularly given that we are playing in the global marketplace, are highly valued, and I would think globally, companies with the budget and an eye on the future are looking to keep or secure the best and brightest talent.

Smaller companies had a more consistent approach to cost cutting.

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