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In the News: CPAs More Bullish on Economy Heading into 2015


2015Yesterday, the AICPA announced the results of the fourth quarter AICPA Economic Outlook Survey. The survey, which polls CEOs, CFOs, controllers and other CPAs who hold senior management accounting roles, found higher expectations for profits, revenue and expansion in the coming year.

Some 64 percent of survey takers now report that they are optimistic about prospects for the U.S. economy over the next 12 months. That is up from 52 percent last quarter and 38 percent a year ago.

As Politico reports, the survey found that respondents are actually slightly more optimistic about their own companies’ prospects (67 percent, up 2 percentage points from last quarter), with 71 percent saying they expect their business to expand in the coming year.

Arleen R. Thomas, CPA, CGMA, senior vice president of management accounting and global markets at the AICPA explains in a Fox Business article on the survey. “As clouds lift on the economy, companies are shifting back into growth mode,” she said.

While hiring signs are positive, a majority of business executives (62 percent) said they are dealing with increased competition for job candidates, with one in four saying they’ve lost out on a top recruit recently or had to leave important jobs open for extended periods of time.

‘Availability of skilled personnel,’ is now the No. 2 challenge for businesses, up from No. 3 last quarter.

More than one in three executives say they are offering higher salaries to aid recruitment efforts, while 20 percent are offering other financial incentives, such as a 401(k) match, employee stock options or an enhanced benefit package.

AccountingWEB highlighted additional findings of the survey:

  • Headcount is now expected to increase by 2.1 percent over the next year, an improvement over the 1.8 percent growth expectation last quarter. Employment growth in technology (4 percent) and the construction sector (3.1 percent) is expected to outstrip the overall average.
  • Anticipated spending growth on training improved to 2.2 percent, up from 2 percent last quarter and 1.5 percent a year ago.
  • Fears about deflation doubled from 5 percent to 10 percent in the quarter, the highest level since 2012. Inflation fears fell from 38 percent to 27 percent.

The CPA Outlook Index—a comprehensive gauge of executive sentiment within the AICPA survey— rose three points in the third quarter to 78, a post-recession high. The index is a composite of nine, equally weighted survey measures set on a scale of 0 to 100, with 50 considered neutral and greater numbers signifying positive sentiment.

CPAOI 14

Here’s to the economy continuing to pick up steam in 2015 as the recession gets further in the rearview mirror.

James Schiavone, Media Relations Manager, American Institute of CPAs.  

Improvement in 2015 image via Shutterstock

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