Executive CAs more optimistic about the Canadian economy



    TORONTO, Aug. 26 /CNW/ - Optimism about the Canadian economy is up
significantly among senior-level chartered accountants interviewed for the
most recent CICA/RBC Business Monitor (Q2 2009). Despite that growing
optimism, some gloomy economic expectations linger.
    Twenty-eight per cent of the respondents expressed optimism in the
economy over the next twelve months. That is up sharply from four per cent in
the first quarter of this year and just two per cent in the last quarter of
2008. In fact, optimism levels have returned to where they were a year ago,
but they still lag far behind those recorded in the final three quarters of
2007 (67 per cent, 66 per cent and 63 per cent).
    "Optimism may be rising but economic expectations are still not good
enough to warrant universal good cheer," said Kevin Dancey, FCA, president and
CEO, Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA). "An increase in
optimism among senior-level chartered accountants is encouraging and it
signals that a difficult balancing act lies ahead. Business leaders must
address short-term issues but attention also must be paid to the future to
ensure companies are in position to take full advantage of the eventual
recovery."
    While a more positive outlook appears to be taking shape, it may be a
while before the economy turns around. Just like the previous Business Monitor
report, about two-thirds of respondents expect the Canadian economy to return
to economic growth by the end of Q2 2010 at the latest. RBC Economics believes
this may in fact happen earlier, even as early as the current quarter ending
in September.
    The survey suggests that respondents now believe the drops in revenues,
profit and employment numbers will not be as sharp as anticipated last
quarter. This quarter, respondents predict declines for their own businesses
for the next twelve months to be revenues (-0.8%), profit (-1.1%) and
employment numbers (-0.7%). In comparison, last quarter the following declines
were projected for the next twelve months: revenues (-3.9%), profit (-4.3%)
and employees (-3.0%).
    Half of respondents expect their own companies to grow faster than the
Canadian economy (51 per cent). Almost one in four anticipate their companies
growing at the same pace as the country's economy, while 24 per cent expect to
grow at a slower rate.
    "Although businesses have endured challenges over the past year, signs
point to a more positive outlook," added Shauneen Bruder, executive vice
president, Business and Commercial Banking, RBC. "One encouraging sign is the
level of business investment. Despite a sharp decline in the first quarter of
2009, the pace of decline of business investment appears to be easing. As
inventories and resources become depleted, we will see businesses cautiously
taking the steps to be recovery ready."
    The CICA/RBC Business Monitor is issued quarterly, based on a survey
conducted by the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA). The
report draws upon business insights of CAs in leadership positions in
privately and publicly held companies across Canada. For this Q2 2009 report,
emailed surveys were completed by 433 CAs of 3,750 identified by the CICA as
holding senior positions (CFOs, CEOs and COOs) in publicly or privately held
companies in Canada. The response rate was 12 per cent, with a margin of error
associated with this type of study at +/- 4.7 per cent, with a confidence
level of 95 per cent.
    The CICA/RBC Business Monitor (Q2 2009) is part of an international
initiative. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) in
the United States and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and
Wales (ICAEW) in the United Kingdom also undertake quarterly studies that tap
the insights of members in senior positions to provide a barometer of economic
activity in their nations and as a basis for future comparative analysis
across countries. A background document is available online at
www.cicarbcbusinessmonitor.com.

    About CICA
    The Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA), together with the
provincial, territorial and Bermuda Institutes/Ordre of Chartered Accountants,
represents a membership of approximately 75,000 CAs and 12,000 students in
Canada and Bermuda. The CICA conducts research into current business issues
and supports the setting of accounting, auditing and assurance standards for
business, not-for-profit organizations and government. It issues guidance on
control and governance, publishes professional literature, develops continuing
education programs and represents the CA profession nationally and
internationally. CICA is a founding member of the International Federation of
Accountants (IFAC) and the Global Accounting Alliance (GAA).

    About RBC
    RBC delivers a wide range of financial services through a variety of
channels to individuals, small and medium-sized businesses and commercial
clients, including deposit accounts, investments and mutual funds, credit and
debit cards, business and personal loans, and residential and commercial
mortgages. It is the personal and commercial banking division of Royal Bank of
Canada (RY on TSX and NYSE).





For further information:

For further information: Interviews can be arranged with Kevin Dancey,
CICA president & CEO, by contacting: Tobin Lambie, CICA, (416) 204-3228 or c/o
tobin.lambie@cica.ca; Interviews can be arranged with Shauneen Bruder,
executive vice-president, RBC Business and Commercial Banking, by contacting:
Matt Gierasimczuk, (416) 974-2124 or c/o matthew.gierasimczuk@rbc.com; or
Janet Gibson Eichner, (416) 974-7622 or c/o janet.gibson-eichner@rbc.com

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Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants

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