Executive CAs uncertain about year ahead, but majority remains optimistic about their company: CICA/RBC Business Monitor

TORONTO, Jan. 27 /CNW/ - Less than half (41 per cent) of executive CAs surveyed are optimistic about the Canadian economy over the next 12 months, according to the latest CICA/RBC Business Monitor (Q4 2010).

Optimism levels recorded during the most recent quarter are virtually unchanged from the third quarter of 2010, but are down significantly from the first half of 2010 when positive sentiment hovered around 60 per cent. Interestingly, optimism is closer to the 48 per cent mark reached during the fourth quarter of 2009 when the economy was feeling the impact of the credit crisis.

"Uncertainty lingers with half of the respondents being neutral about how the Canadian economy will perform," said Kevin Dancey, FCA, president and CEO, Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA). "Testimony to the wait and see approach being taken by many executive CAs is that only nine per cent were pessimistic."

The uncertainty among executive CAs diminishes within the framework of their companies. Fifty-six per cent of respondents are optimistic about their company's prospects over the next year, marking the sixth consecutive quarter that company optimism has run between 55 and 62 per cent. "The fact that company optimism has been holding steady is a positive constant," added Dancey.

More than half (55 per cent) of respondents expect their company to grow faster than the Canadian economy, while 23 per cent anticipate growth at the same rate and another 21 per cent expect growth to be slower.

"Canadian businesses seem to be adapting fairly well to this tough economic climate," said Andrea Bolger, Head of Business Financial Services, RBC. "Despite their outlook for the economy, many businesses appear to be revising their plans and are adopting new growth strategies."

The CICA/RBC Business Monitor shows positive projections for the next 12 months relating to revenues (+3.5 per cent), profits (+3.4 per cent) and employment numbers (+1.4 per cent).

The CICA/RBC Business Monitor is issued quarterly, based on a survey conducted by the CICA. The report draws upon business insights of CAs in leadership positions in privately and publicly held companies across Canada.

For the Q4 2010 study, emailed surveys were completed by 350 CAs of 4,063 identified by the CICA as holding senior positions (CFOs, CEOs and COOs). The response rate was 8 per cent, with a margin of error associated with this type of study at +/- 5.3 per cent, with a confidence level of 95 per cent. The survey was conducted November 23 - December 16, 2010.

The CICA/RBC Business Monitor (Q4 2010) 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

Chartered Accountants (CAs) are Canada's most valued, internationally recognized profession of leaders in senior management, advisory, financial, tax and assurance roles. Through their integrity, expertise, and internationally recognized qualification standards, Canada's 78,000 CAs sustain their influence and leadership position both in Canada and globally. As trusted business advisors to Canadian organizations of all sizes, Canada's CAs foster confidence in Canadian business and contribute to the health and sustainability of Canada's capital markets and economy. The Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA) represents Canada's CA profession both nationally and internationally. The 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).

SOURCE Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants

For further information: Interviews with an official from the CICA can be arranged by contacting: Tobin Lambie, CICA, (416) 204-3228 or tobin.lambie@cica.ca; Interviews can be arranged with Andrea Bolger, Head of Business Financial Services, RBC, by contacting: Margie McNeil, (416) 388-3697 or margie.mcneil@rbc.com; or Elyse Lalonde, (416) 974-8810 or elyse.lalonde@rbc.com

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Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants

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