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Greek profession at a standstill as Grexit looms

 

By Loukia Gyftopoulou

As Greece is immersed in seemingly unfruitful negotiations with its creditors, the accounting sector finds itself trapped in a motionless market, the International Accounting Bulletin found.

Waiting to see what the future has in store for them, accounting firms have put their plans on hold as even those clients that survived the crisis and aimed to develop and expand were forced to refrain due to the prevailing uncertainty.

"Companies have serious liquidity issues and the banks are unable to finance them at a desirable level," BDO Greece managing partner John Kalogeropoulos said. "The situation has intensified since the election and consequently the market is frozen."

As a consequence of this unpleasant sate, audit is currently the main source of accounting firms' dealings, seeing as it is a statutory requirement companies can't walk away from. But even there, the proliferation of small audit firms that have sprung as a result of the crisis has driven prices to the bottom.

Commenting on the phenomenon, Kreston Greece managing partner Criton Tzavelas said: "Fees are now one-third of what they used to be and we have to chase after clients to get paid for services we have offered.

"This goes for bigger firms too, which were forced to reduce both in prices and staff numbers."

Since January's general election saw the radical left Syriza party come to power for the first time, growing fears of a "Grexit" have reinforced instability and raised profound concerns that recovery is still not in sight.

But despite this shakiness of affairs, the accounting world preserves a certain amount of optimism for what is to come.

"Any analysis based on logic says an agreement will be reached in the end," said PwC Greece chief executive Marios Psaltis. "An accident cannot be excluded, of course, but the most probable scenario is an agreement will be reached.

"If that is combined with political and macroeconomic stability, we believe the economy will pick up."

 

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