AICPA Economic Outlook Survey: CPA Execs More Optimistic about Hiring

By Jason Bramwell
 
Despite optimism in the US economy dropping 4 percentage points in the third quarter of 2013, business executives continue to raise their expectations for hiring in the coming year, as the number of companies that plan to add new employees increased by 3 percent over the first and second quarters of this year, according to a new economic forecast released September 10 by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA).
 
The AICPA polled more than 1,200 CPAs in US companies who hold executive and senior management accounting titles, such as CFO and controller, for its Business & Industry US Economic Outlook Survey 3Q 2013.
 
The CPA Outlook Index  a comprehensive gauge of executive sentiment within the survey  remains unchanged from last quarter at sixty-nine points. The index is a composite of nine, equally weighted survey measures set on a scale of zero to one hundred, with fifty considered neutral and greater numbers signifying positive sentiment.
 
Most elements of the index rose modestly or were unchanged. US economic optimism fell four points, in part due to concerns about health care reform and political gridlock. Organization optimism  how executives feel about their own companies  slid a single point after a steady increase in each of the previous three quarters. However, each of these components is higher now than a year ago, with US economic optimism up twenty-one points year over year, despite this quarter's dip. 
 
Index components that showed the highest quarter-to-quarter increase were employment, expansion plans, and revenue  each up two points over the second quarter. 
 
"To me, it indicates that business executives are still a little wary about the US economy's ability to jump forward, but more executives now believe there is enough stability to start expanding and hiring again," Jim Morrison, CPA, CGMA, chair of the AICPA Business & Industry Executive Committee, told AccountingWEB.

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