Escalating global inflation is the biggest challenge for businesses struggle to recover from the recession, according to the latest Global Economic Conditions survey of 2,300 accountants by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.

Fifty-one percent are worried about rising operating costs, up from 31% who shared these concerned in the fourth quarter of 2010.

“The huge rise in inflation has been the most worrying development to emerge from our latest survey,” said ACCA Senior Policy Adviser Manos Schizas. “More than half reported problems with rising operating costs, which will hinder their ability to look for new opportunities at the time when businesses desperately need to fill the order books. The number of finance professionals worried about inflation will also be a concern to governments that have put in place a range of measures to control rising prices.”

Responses also indicate that the recovery remains fragile, that it stalled at the end of 2010 and that it picked up again early this year. ACCA said that while this has generally led to a more stable outlook for employment and investment in developed countries, accountants in the developing world reported slightly less investment in staff and more layoffs than last quarter, as businesses come to terms with the weaker-than-expected recovery.

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