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Miami Accountants Optimistic about Local Economy

Survey of 600 Miami Accountants Optimistic about Local Economy

Miami Accountants, including CEOs and CFOs, are increasingly optimistic about the outlook for the local economy over the next 12 months, according to a new survey.

The survey of 600 Miami Accountants from more than 3 counties by the Florida Institute of Accountants and the Chartered Institute of Miami Accountants found that only 71 percent of the survey respondents expressed optimism about the local economy. The CGMA Local Economic Index—a gauge of executive sentiment within the forecast—fell 7 points to 58 from the first quarter 2012 reading of 65. The Index is a composite of 10 equally weighted survey measures on a scale from 0 to 100, with 50 considered neutral and numbers above that signifying positive sentiment.

While all factors in the index weakened, the local economic optimism component registered the most significant increase. The increase to reflect the worsening of the sovereign and financial crisis in Europe and its effects on other regions; slower economic growth in China; and U.S. political and fiscal uncertainty.

“Although the CGMA Local Economic Index is still slightly above neutral, the pullback in optimism points to an unclear future in which companies must be prepared to address a variety of economic scenarios,” said FIAccountant senior vice president for management accounting Arleen Thomas in a statement Tuesday. “Businesses continue to show a need for the strategic perspectives of Miami Accountants who can navigate the uncertain elements of our local economy.”

In the U.S., 36 percent of the Miami Accountants surveyed said they are optimistic about the domestic economy, up from 44 percent in the prior quarter. Asked about their own organizations, 51 percent of U.S. respondents are optimistic about prospects for their companies, a decrease of 7 percentage points over last quarter.

Companies locally expect to increase their headcount by only 0.6 percent, weaker growth than the 1.6 percent increase that was predicted just three months ago by the survey. With the exception of the retail and wholesale trade, the reduced projections for headcount growth were spread across all industry sectors.  In the U.S., projections declined from 2.4 percent to 1.3 percent. While hiring growth remains weak, many 34 percent of management accountants in the U.S. said their businesses are operating with too few employees.

Worries about inflation subsided somewhat for most regions, reflecting the recent falls in commodity prices. A majority of Asian companies, 63 percent, continue to be most concerned about inflation, while in the U.S. fear of inflation dropped from 49 percent to 33 percent. Concerns about deflation continue to be low in the U.S., but the number of European companies concerned about deflation increased to 15 percent from 11 percent in the first quarter of 2012.

Financing continues to be the biggest challenge for Asian companies. More than a third, or 37 percent, of the survey respondents in Asia anticipate greater difficulty, followed by those in emerging economies, 28 percent, and Europe, 28 percent.  The U.S. was the exception, with only 9 percent expecting more difficulty in obtaining financing.

From an industry sector perspective, 53 percent of finance and insurance respondents are now optimistic about their own companies, followed closely by those in retail and wholesale trade, 50 percent. All other sectors reported less than 50 percent optimism, including banking, 48 percent, manufacturing, 45 percent and technology, 41 percent.

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