By Rob Starr, Big4.com, Content Manager
According to the first quarter AICPA Economic Outlook Survey, which polls chief executive officers, chief financial officers, controllers and other certified public accountants in U.S. companies who hold executive and senior management accounting roles, optimism about key performance indicators still remains high, but there has been a retrenchment in sentiment since last quarter. Valerie Rainey, CPA, CGMA, chair of the AICPA’s Business, Industry Executive Committee, is CFO and senior vice president of corporate development and finance for INTTRA, a leading e-marketplace for the shipping industry based in Parsippany, N.J. She explained some of the findings to Big4.com.
What key categories have seen a “retrenchment in sentiment” and why?
Manufacturing has the largest number of respondents. That sector and finance and insurance eased off from over 70% optimistic. Healthcare and healthcare providers were down with ongoing ACA issues/challenges being the drivers there. While we don’t have nearly the number of respondents in
mining and natural resources as we do in manufacturing, which is why we don’t report on that separately, that sector had the most respondents who said they were planning to significantly contract due to the oil and gas price fall-off.
What is the significance of this?
We will see what the significance of this is going forward – whether just a leveling off from the strong upswing of the recovery that we saw especially in the second half of last year, or something more serious.
What’s the overall picture for profit, revenue and expansion according to business executives?
Expected rates of increase and plans for expansion are still higher than all but a few odd quarters during the recovery. Good percentage increases on higher base levels as we go forward still represent strong growth.
What are some of the other takeaways from the report?
Employment also continues to be stronger than all but Q3 and Q4 2014, going back to 2010 and prior.
What is the prognosis for the future?
I think we will have to wait to see if this is a blip in the sentiment of the survey respondents or the beginning of a trend.
Read the entire report here.