More than 60% of respondents said economic instability poses the biggest threat to the growth of their business in the next eight years. More than half said fraud is a major threat, with over 49% believing liability suits pose a serious threat.

Jane Howard, partner at law firm Wragge & Co and leader of the professional liability group said that an increase in liability suits and internal friction within networks are a "normal occurrence" in times of recession and economic downturn.

Howard also said there may be more litigation occurring in emerging markets by 2020. "Historically [the source of most litigation] has been the US, and that may remain the most popular jurisdiction for some time. On the other hand in terms of growth I’d probably look to the emerging markets as the Big Four have been very active there – particularly in China and India for some time now" she says.

"And as many credible law firms have opened offices in those Jurisdictions, jumping on the band wagon, their exposure will increase."
Howard also anticipates an increase in conflict of interest and friction between international network members.

"In the current climate, people want to be bigger and pick up some of these transnational audits. The general commercial pressure to enjoy economies of scale is hard and I can only see it increasing," she adds.

Full analysis of IAB and TA’s Profession in 2020 survey will be published in the October issues of IAB and TA.