Professionals optimistic about recovery

However 25% admitted a loss of confidence in their own organisation, up from 20% in Q3 despite business opportunities being higher in Q4 2013 than any point in the last two years.

Emmanouil Schizas, senior economic analyst at Association of Chartered Accountants, said: “While the headline-grabbing recovery still relies on unhealthy factors, such as a renewed mortgage bubble, our findings tell us that business confidence is becoming less responsive to these and more closely aligned to business opportunities and demand.”

The results were roughly mirrored on a global level, as respondents had more faith in the strength of the recovery in Q4 2013 than any time in the last five years. Meanwhile 35% reported a loss of business confidence in Q4, compared to 32% in Q3.

In the last quarter of 2013 smaller organisations reported the greatest confidence gains, while it fell among large corporations and financials.

Schizas added: “This small group appears to have driven much of the SME sector’s recovery over the last three years. It is possible that such businesses have a distinct advantage in the current environment due to their flexibility and international reach.”

The strongest confidence gains in the fourth quarter came from Ireland, following the end of the country’s bailout and fiscal adjustment programme and a strong return to the capital markets.