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Making the Jump to Industry Might Be Harder to Do Next Year Per This CPA Survey

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Well it was nice while it lasted. According to the the fourth-quarter AICPA & CIMA Economic Outlook Survey, inflation has once again taken the top spot for things that keep CFOs, CEOs, and controllers with CPA after their names up at night. Last quarter the big concern was talent, that sure has changed for this quarter:

Twelve percent of business executives said they had too many employees, up four percentage points from last quarter. Some 38% said they have too few employees, but the percentage who said they were hesitant to hire because of economic uncertainty increased from 14% to 16%.

We trust this means we won’t hear any griping about the talent shortage from corporate finance departments going forward then.

Two quarters ago, 46 percent of decision-makers surveyed believed they had the right number of employees, up 1 point from the first quarter of 2023. Hesitancy to hire saw a 6-point jump to 17% in Q2, and 26 percent of respondents had plans to boost their workforce, a decrease from 33% in the first quarter. In Q3, half of respondents said their organizations have the right number of employees, so a four point jump from Q2.

Other key findings of the Q4 survey:

  • Expansion plans fell slightly from 50% to 48% this quarter
  • Business executives less optimistic about their own company’s prospects over the next 12 months (43% vs. 45% last quarter), although they are still ahead of where they were a year ago (35%).
  • Some 28% of business executives said they expected their companies to raise prices by year end, down from 37% last quarter. Sixty-three percent said they expected no change, while 2% said they anticipated decreases.

“We’re seeing some softening on the hiring front and IT spending, which are classic areas of belt-tightening in uncertain times,” said Tom Hood, the AICPA & CIMA’s executive vice president for business engagement and growth. “At the same time, business executives’ expectations for their own organization’s prospects over the next year are down just a bit from the third quarter and ahead of where they were a year ago. So, there’s a lot of mixed signals right now on the economy.”

Business Executives’ Mixed View on Economy Reflects Continued Uncertainty, AICPA & CIMA Survey Finds [PR Newswire]