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Quarterly AICPA Economic Outlook Survey Finds CPA Business Leaders Still Pessimistic

S.J. Steinhardt
Published Date:
Sep 1, 2022

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Despite the good economic news of late—a declining inflation rate, increased employment and fewer unemployment claims—CPA business leaders in the United States are pessimistic about profit and revenue growth in the next year, the AICPA's 3Q 2022 Business and Industry Economic Outlook Survey found.

Chief among the concerns contributing to that pessimism were persistent inflation worries, the continuing worldwide fallout from both the Russo-Ukraine war and a slowing Chinese economy.

Topping the list of challenges was, unsurprisingly, inflation, a concern for almost nine in 10 respondents. Others included the high costs of materials, supplies, equipment, and energy, as well as shortages of skilled labor and the costs of employee turnover.

Revenue projections declined, quarter over quarter, from an expected 3.4 percent growth rate over the next 12 month to 2.6 percent. On average, companies also projected no increase in profits. Only about one fifth of respondents were optimistic about the U.S. economy, matching the number from last quarter’s survey. Only about a tenth were optimistic about the global economy.

The survey found some bright spots, however: Information technology spending continued to be strong, and some respondents cited the good employment news, the easing of supply chain issues and the anti-inflationary actions being undertaken by policymakers. Also hiring plans remained relatively strong; more than 50 percent of the organizations surveyed continue to need additional employees; only 19 percent are hesitant to hire, while 34 percent have plans to hire.

The results  of the quarterly survey, “a forward-looking indicator that tracks hiring and business-related expectations for the next 12 months,” were reported by CPA Practice Advisor. It polled a total of 375 people from the ranks of CEOs, CFOs, controllers and other CPAs in U.S. companies who hold executive and senior management accounting roles.

“The degree of pessimism over the economy was unchanged this quarter after bottoming out in the spring,” said Ash Noah, vice president and managing director of learning, education and development for the AICPA and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), which together form the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants.



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