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Austerity not over yet, say UK public sector finance experts


10 Dec 2019


Euro & Finance
ACCA UK’s public sector conference quizzes professionals about the impacts and influences on their work
Accountants and finance professionals from a wide range of UK public sector organisations were polled at ACCA UK’s (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) annual public sector conference recently to gauge their opinions about perceived challenges and opportunities.
Titled Innovation in the public sector, the event was a chance for attendees to share their responses to questions about the public sector’s current environment.
Eighty percent of respondents said that austerity was not truly over for the public sector, with only two percent agreeing that it was. Looking ahead to 2020, respondents said that political uncertainty concerned them most at 37%, with 26% saying the underfunding of projects was also a concern for 2020. Economic uncertainty polled at 23%, and only 5% were concerned about the impact of IT and technology.
Finance aside, when asked about the essential future skills needed for their teams, respondents cited ‘people skills’ at 34% and ‘communication skills’ at 31%, showing how important these skills are for the public sector to thrive in the future.
With the rise of Public Private Partnerships (PPP), respondents were also asked whether they were a success: 53% said they were unsure, compared to 29% who said no, and 19% yes.
Claire Bennison, head of ACCA UK, commented on the poll saying: ‘These poll results show respondents to be very clear about the challenges ahead. They express a need for better communication and people skills, which will help them tackle their perceived future concerns.
‘With the majority saying austerity has not ended, perhaps that is why they are looking for innovative solutions by sharing ideas and views with colleagues more openly: 69% said they would do this more in the future. Collaboration is often where solutions can be found, so this sharing mentality is a positive outcome.’
Over 100 delegates from across the UK attended the conference.
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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 219,000 members and 527,000 students (including affiliates) in 179 countries, helping them to develop successful careers in accounting and business, with the skills required by employers. ACCA works through a network of 110 offices and centres and 7,571 Approved Employers worldwide, and 328 approved learning providers who provide high standards of 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 has introduced 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. More information is here:


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