Stat Corner

    Business executives grew less confident about prospects for the U.S. economy over the past quarter, and are reining in profit and revenue expectations for their organizations in the coming year, according to the second 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.

    While a majority (52 percent) of respondents still express optimism about the U.S. economy, there has been a significant slide in sentiment from the first quarter mark of 68 percent. The category is still up narrowly from a year ago, however, when it stood at 51 percent.

    “We’re clearly seeing more caution from accounting and finance leaders amid questions about the momentum of the recovery,” said Valerie Rainey,  CPA, CGMA, chair of the AICPA’s Business and Industry Executive Committee and CFO of INTTRA, a leading e-marketplace for the shipping industry based in Parsippany, N.J. “On the positive side, there are signs that businesses are investing for growth through anticipated spending on technology and training, among other categories.”

    For the second straight quarter, there has been a decline in optimism about survey takers’ own businesses. That’s reflected in part through more modest expectations for growth in profit (2.4 percent) and revenue (3.2 percent) over the next 12 months, down from post-recession highs of 3.9 percent and 4.7 percent, respectively, in the fourth quarter last year.

    Other key findings of the survey:
    • Sentiment about the global economy remains negative – only 28 percent of survey takers expressed optimism about this category
    • Hiring remains stable. About 55 percent of respondents say their businesses have the right amount of staff. Twenty-one percent said they have plans to hire immediately, which is in line with last quarter’s survey.
    • Most companies (61 percent) expect to expand. Some 22 percent expect to stay the same size, while 17 percent expect to contract. Only 53 percent of the largest businesses ($1 billion-plus in sales) expect to expand, however, down from 77 percent in the previous quarter.
    • Optimism for the retail trade leapt dramatically to 85 percent, and headcount is expected to rise 4.6 percent for the sector in the next 12 months, tops for any industry. The technology sector continues to be volatile, with optimism dropping after a sharp increase last quarter.
    • While optimism in the construction sector declined to 63 percent from a high of 87 percent in the first quarter, growth in construction hiring is expected to be strong at 3.2 percent after falling off in the first quarter to 2.7 percent.

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

    Hot Topics

    Accounting Enrollments Reach an All-Time High

    Enrollments in undergraduate and graduate accounting programs have increased in the 2013-14 academic year, and have combined to cross the 250,000 threshold for the first time. On the recruiting side, accounting firms hired a record number of accounting graduates in 2014, representing a seven percent increase from the previous survey. The report found optimism from both universities and firms that the growth of the accounting profession will continue.
    FRF for SMEs Accounting Framework Statement on Standards for Accounting and Review Services (SSARS) No. 21

    Statement on Standards for Accounting and Review Services (SSARS) No. 21 represents the efforts of the Accounting and Review Services Committee (ARSC) of the AICPA to clarify and revise the standards for members in public practice who perform reviews, compilations, and engagements to prepare financial statements. It is effective for engagements on financial statements for periods ending on or after December 15, 2015 but early implementation is permitted.
    Troy Lewis Testified before the House Small business Committee Chair of the AICPA Tax Executive Committee Testified Before the House Small Business Committee

    Troy K. Lewis, CPA, CGMA, chair of the AICPA Tax Executive Committee, testified before the House Small Business Committee on July 22 and offered specific changes that would ease small business tax burdens and stressed to committee members that timely communication with the IRS is imperative to small business taxpayers and their tax preparers.

    AICPA Insights Blog

    Retrieving Data


    Professional Issues Update (Part 1)
    Barry Melancon, CPA, CGMA
    2015 Spring Council

    Barry Melancon, CPA, CGMA, AICPA President & CEO takes members on a journey through the AICPA initiatives that are positioning the profession for the future, and describes some of the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.

    Professional Issues Update (Part 2)

    More on AICPA TV

    Media Relations Team

    Gil Nielsen
    Director - Media Relations (NY)
    (212) 596-6008
    Contact Gil for general inquiries.

    Jay Hyde
    Director - Media Relations (DC)
    (202) 434-9266
    Contact Jay for inquiries related to auditing and advocacy (congressional and political affairs).

    Shirley Twillman
    Senior Manager - Media Relations
    (202) 434-9220
    Contact Shirley for inquiries related to tax issues.

    Jeff May
    Manager - Media Relations
    (212) 596-6122
    Contact Jeff for inquiries related to CPA2Biz, and AICPA publications.
    James Schiavone
    Senior Manager - Public Relations
    (212) 596-6119 
    Contact James for inquiries related to the CPA Exam, accounting education and careers, personal financial planning and financial literacy.
    Mitchell Slepian
    Manager - Media Relations
    (212) 596-6177  
    Contact Mitchell for inquiries related to accounting issues.

    For all other media inquiries, any member of the team will be happy to assist you.
    Copyright © 2006-2015 American Institute of CPAs.