Senior Level Chartered Accountants Indicate Profits and Revenues will Dramatically Decline in 2009



    Levels of Optimism Hit Rock Bottom

    TORONTO, Feb. 2 /CNW/ - Chartered Accountants in executive corporate
positions who responded to the CICA/RBC Business Monitor (Q4 2008) survey
indicated that on average, their profits and revenues are estimated to decline
in the year ahead. This is the first time that corporate profits have been
estimated to decline since the inception of the study in Q2 2007.
    In Q4 (2007) profits for the next 12 months were projected to increase
three per cent. When compared to Q4 (2008), profits are now expected to
decrease 2.4 per cent.
    Similarly, in Q4 (2007), revenues for the next 12 months were projected
to increase three per cent. When compared to Q4 (2008), revenues are now
expected to decrease 1.6 per cent.
    In addition - and not surprisingly - the survey also found that optimism
in the Canadian economy has hit rock bottom. Only two per cent of the
respondents were optimistic about the economy over the next twelve months
compared to 63 per cent a year ago. RBC Economics is forecasting that the
Canadian economy likely declined in the fourth quarter of 2008 with these
recessionary conditions continuing into the first quarter of 2009.
    Optimism about their own business has also declined. Only 23 per cent
were optimistic about the prospects facing their companies over the next 12
months, compared to 57 per cent in Q4 2007.
    "These are certainly volatile times and that uncertainty is impacting
optimism in the Canadian economy," said Kevin Dancey, FCA, CICA president and
CEO. "Businesses are looking at ways to ensure that their operations remain
viable. The most creative will be the most successful."
    From a regional perspective provincial optimism has dropped drastically
in each of the following provinces: British Columbia (four per cent compared
to 87 per cent in Q4 2007); Alberta (15 per cent versus 60 per cent in Q4
2007); Quebec (six per cent compared to 44 per cent in Q4 2007); and Ontario
(zero per cent versus 28 per cent in Q4 2007). Declines in business optimism
on a year over year basis are at least down 25 per cent in each province.
    "While RBC Economics forecasts a rocky start for 2009 for Canadian
businesses, it's important to remember that our economic fundamentals are much
stronger than that of our largest trading partner, the United States," added
Shauneen Bruder, executive vice president, Business and Commercial Banking,
RBC Royal Bank. "As a result, there are significant opportunities available
for well positioned businesses here in Canada."
    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 Q4 2008 report, emailed surveys were completed by 426 CAs of
3,974 identified by CICA as holding senior positions (CFOs, CEOs and COOs) in
publicly or privately held companies in Canada. The response rate was 11 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 (Q4 2008) 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. The CICA/RBC Business Monitor (Q4 2008) 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 74,000 CAs and 10,000 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 Royal Bank

    RBC Royal Bank 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. Through its focus on industry specialization, RBC
Business and Commercial Banking provides industry-specific financial and
business advice to help clients successfully start up, sustain, grow and
transition their businesses. RBC Royal Bank 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:
Jackie Braden, (416) 974-2124 or c/o jackie.braden@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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