Executive professional accountants forecasting growth in employee numbers: CPA Canada Business Monitor

There is a sharp jump in the number of executive professional accountants anticipating a climb in employee numbers at their companies over the next 12 months, according to the latest CPA Canada Business Monitor (Q4 2013).

TORONTO, January 30, 2014 –There is a sharp jump in the number of executive professional accountants anticipating a climb in employee numbers at their companies over the next 12 months, according to the latest CPA Canada Business Monitor (Q4 2013).

Forty-four per cent forecast a growth in employee numbers in the year ahead compared with 34 per cent the previous quarter. Thirty-nine per cent of the respondents predict no change and 17 per cent expect a drop.

Despite the positive employment forecast, the majority of executive professional accountants (60 per cent) are neutral about the prospects for the Canadian economy over the next 12 months. Thirty-four per cent are optimistic while just six per cent are pessimistic.

The state of the U.S. economy is viewed as the biggest challenge to the Canadian economy, referenced by 38 per cent of respondents. Uncertainty surrounding the Canadian economy is the next closest at 14 per cent.

“The majority of executives surveyed are not prepared to give a thumbs up just yet for the Canadian economy, despite some very encouraging employment prospects,” says Kevin Dancey, FCPA, FCA, president and CEO, Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada). “The survey findings reinforce the lingering uncertainty that exists.”

In terms of company optimism, 57 per cent are optimistic about how their company will perform over the next 12 months compared with 50 per cent the previous quarter. There also are positive projections for revenues and profits. Sixty-nine per cent of respondents expect their revenues to grow in the next year and 68 per cent are forecasting an increase in profits.

Impact of Personal Debt

Almost two-thirds (61 per cent) of the executive professional accountants surveyed believe the current level of personal debt among Canadians is hurting the economy. In addition, 53 per cent of those surveyed felt that Canadian personal debt levels are a threat to future demand for products or services at their company.

“High personal debt levels among Canadians are clearly a source of worry for many business leaders,” says Dancey. “CPA Canada has repeatedly encouraged Canadians to save more, spend less and reduce personal debt.”

Bank of Canada

About two-in-three respondents (65 per cent) believe that the Bank of Canada will likely leave its overnight rate unchanged for the duration of 2014. Virtually all other respondents predict the Bank will increase the overnight rate in the year ahead.

It also appears that executive professional accountants are growing increasingly comfortable with Stephen Poloz in his role as Bank of Canada governor. A strong majority (71 per cent) stated they were more comfortable while 29 per cent were less comfortable.

Background Information

The CPA Canada Business Monitor is issued quarterly, based on a survey commissioned by CPA Canada. The report draws upon business insights of professional accountants in leadership positions in privately and publicly held companies.

For the Q4 2013 study, emailed surveys were completed by 192 of 4,319 identified by CPA Canada as holding senior positions (CFOs, CEOs, COOs and other senior executive roles). The response rate was 4.4 per cent, with a margin of error associated with this type of study at ±7.1 per cent, with a confidence level of 95 per cent. The survey was conducted by Harris/Decima Inc. from December 5 to December 19, 2013. A background document is available online at www.cpacanada.ca/businessmonitor.

About CPA Canada

CPA Canada is the national organization established to support unification of the Canadian accounting profession under the Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) designation. It was created by the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA) and The Society of Management Accountants of Canada (CMA Canada) to provide services to all CPA, CA, CMA and CGA accounting bodies that have unified or are committed to unification. As part of the unification effort, CPA Canada and the Certified General Accountants Association of Canada (CGA-Canada) are working toward integrating their operations. Unification will enhance the influence, relevance and contribution of the Canadian accounting profession both at home and internationally.

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact:
Tobin Lambie, principal, media
CPA Canada
(416) 204-3228