Stat Corner

    Business executives are more optimistic about a broad range of performance indicators for the coming year, which has led to a more favorable view on hiring, according to the third 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.

    A majority of survey takers (51 percent) said their companies or organizations have the right number of employees. But nearly one in five companies now say they expect to hire new staffers in the coming year, compared to 17 percent last quarter and 13 percent at the end of 2013. Another 18 percent said they had too few employees but were hesitant to hire because of economic uncertainty.

    Finding job candidates with the right skills is becoming more difficult, however, many respondents said in comments. For the second straight quarter, “availability of skilled personnel” was cited as the No. 3 top challenge for businesses, behind “regulatory requirements and changes” (No. 1) and “domestic economic conditions” (No. 2).

    “AICPA’s survey results echo a key concern for businesses, which is the mismatch between open staff positions and the pool of qualified candidates available to fill them,” said Valerie Rainey, CPA, CGMA, and vice chair of the AICPA’s Business and Industry Executive Committee. “That may explain why the findings show an uptick in plans for spending on training and other workforce investments.”

    To speak to a member of the Business and Indusry Executive Committee, contact Mitchell Slepian at 212-596-6177 or


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