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Based on the CPA Outlook Index, 79 was recorded in the 4th quarter as compared to 77 in the 3rd quarter. Before that, the highest record was set at 78 in the 4th quarter of the year 2014. According to the AICPA, this measure is a broad indicator of business activity strength in the United States along with the views of qualified CPAs who are members of the AICPA. This is because their views are directly reflected by their economic direction.
Arleen R. Thomas, the managing director at AICPA said, “In addition to expectations for business tax reductions, executives cited several factors for the boost in optimism, including rising consumer demand, a strengthening global economy and the perception of more pro-business policies at home.”
At the same time, she also stated: "some respondents expressed concern about political dysfunction and fallout from potential stock market and real estate bubbles."
Special mentions were made by the AICPA that all the information for the survey was gathered before the recently passed tax bill. Hence, the information is not influenced by that at all.
Nevertheless, most of the executives (74%) were quite optimistic.
A total of 9 economic indicators are measured by the CPA Outlook index that includes: organizational and U.s optimism, revenues, business expansion, employment, profits, spending on information technology, training and development, and another capital spending.
The measurement of these 9 indicators was done by taking a percentage of the respondents who seem to have an increasing or positive expectation. To this, a half percent of the respondents who expect no change or have a neutral response is added.
The following include the findings of the survey:
- Those companies that had plans to expand had risen to 71% just as in the 2014 quarter.
- Labor expenses remain a key concern of nearly half of the respondents (41%).
- Revenues may increase at a 4.8 percent rate while profits may increase at a 3.8% rate
- Health care costs may increase more in comparison to other costs
- For 21% of the respondents, interest rates are a big concern.
- 27% of respondents have worries of inflation while 5% worry about deflation.
- Spending may increase by more than 3.5% in the information technology sector.
- The article is unique except for the direct quotes
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