A report out today on the health of Australia's listed companies says nearly a third are confronting the risk of a financial catastrophe.
Analysis of almost 16,000 annual reports by the professional accounting body CPA Australia, shows there are more alarm bells ringing now than during the depths of the global financial crisis in early 2009.
Listen to my extended interview with CPA Australia chief executive Alex Malley from this morning's edition of AM on ABC Radio.
The research, conducted between 2005 and 2013, says the red-flagged companies are exposed to the dual risks of end of the mining investment boom and an unexpected slowdown in China.
The CPA study is based on the snowballing of "going concern" warnings from auditors which are used to flag "significant uncertainty" in a company's ability to survive.
CPA Australia chief executive Alex Malley says the findings are a sobering reality check that many Australian companies are fragile.
"We've been talking about the potential impacts of the slow-down in China, the strength of the Australian dollar and the effects of the tapering mining boom on the economy for some time," Mr Malley said.
"Now, this report, compiled based on virtually all companies listed on the ASX, shows these economic factors are being felt across the market and are putting almost a third of ASX listed companies at risk of
"It really begs the question how our economy would be placed were we to face another shock like the GFC?"
According to the research, the "going concern" warnings has risen significantly in the energy and mining sectors with more than 40 percent of companies feared to be at risk in 2013.
The report comes as evidence mounts that China's economy is slowing faster than expected and that the official growth target of 7.5 percent might not be achieved this year.
Australian miners are exposed with the iron ore price now at a fresh five year low of US$79.80 per tonne.
However, the CPA report says non-mining sectors sych as consumer staples, industrials, healthcare and utilities are also facing concerns about their financial health and how they would fare in another global shock.