TORONTO, Sept. 22, 2013 /CNW/ - Optimism about the Canadian economy is up sharply among executive professional accountants climbing to its highest level since the second quarter of 2011, according to the latest CPA Canada Business Monitor (Q3 2013).
Thirty-seven per cent of the respondents surveyed are optimistic about how the national economy will perform over the next 12 months. In both the first and second quarters of this year, only 26 per cent were optimistic. Fifty-six per cent of those surveyed in the third quarter of 2013 are neutral and just under 10 per cent are pessimistic.
While there have been wide spread fluctuations since the quarterly surveys began, economic optimism is now at its highest level since Q2 2011 when 43 per cent of the respondents felt good about the prospects for the Canadian economy. The highest level of optimism for the on-going research is 67 per cent, recorded in the second and third quarters of 2007.
"The increase in economic optimism is certainly positive but it must be put into perspective," says Kevin Dancey, FCPA, FCA, president and CEO, Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada). "While very few of the respondents are pessimistic, the majority are still not prepared to express optimism. Hopefully, further upswings in optimism lie ahead."
The state of the U.S. economy is viewed as the biggest challenge to economic growth by survey respondents (43 per cent) followed by uncertainty surrounding the Canadian economy (18 per cent).
Company optimism is up slightly from last quarter. Fifty per cent are optimistic about how their company will perform over the next 12 months compared with 47 per cent the previous quarter.
No significant changes are emerging in projections for revenues and profits with the majority of respondents still anticipating increases. Sixty-four per cent of respondents expect their revenues to grow in the next year and 59 per cent are forecasting an increase in profits.
Employment Projections Down
Despite an increase in economic optimism, the third quarter survey found that fewer respondents are forecasting an increase in employee numbers at their companies. Thirty-four per cent of the respondents expect employee numbers at their company to increase in the next 12 months, down from 40 per cent the previous quarter. Forty-seven per cent of the respondents anticipate no change and 19 per cent expect a drop.
Looking forward, some hiring challenges may be looming. Two-thirds of those surveyed believe that Canada does not have enough skilled workers and professionals to fill certain positions. In addition, roughly seven-in-ten (71 per cent) anticipate that their organization will have difficulty filling a skilled position over the next two years: 39 per cent referenced skilled trades, 22 per cent middle management, 15 per cent professional positions, 14 per cent senior management and 11 per cent stated other. More than one response could be provided. Twenty-nine per cent of those surveyed do not anticipate difficulty in filling any types of skilled positions.
When asked what steps their company takes to hire skilled workers, asking employees to refer potential candidates was the number one response (56 per cent). Using recruiting firms to source talent within the province was next at 49 per cent.
"It makes sense for organizations to seek assistance from their employees," says Dancey. "Employees understand the operation and recognize that it is their reputation on the line when recommending someone for a position."
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 Q3 2013 study, emailed surveys were completed by 200 of 4,245 identified by CPA Canada as holding senior positions (CFOs, CEOs, COOs and other senior executive roles). The response rate was 4.7 per cent, with a margin of error associated with this type of study at ±6.9 per cent, with a confidence level of 95 per cent. The survey was conducted by Harris/Decima Inc. from August 7 - September 3, 2013. A background document is available online at www.cica.ca/businessmonitor.
About CPA Canada
CPA Canada is the national organization representing the Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) profession in Canada. The Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA) and The Society of Management Accountants of Canada (CMA Canada) created the organization on January 1, 2013, to support unification of the Canadian accounting profession and provide services to all CPAs. CPA Canada also is responsible for providing services to CAs and CMAs on behalf of CICA and CMA Canada. CPA Canada and the Certified General Accountants Association of Canada (CGA-Canada) also have agreed on a process to integrate their operations so that CPA Canada will be able to effectively support the CGA members in provinces participating in unification. This process is subject to CGA member approval. CPAs will serve the public interest across all sectors of the economy with integrity, sound ethical practices, disciplined regulation and proven strategic management and financial expertise. Accounting bodies representing almost 90 per cent of Canada's professional accountants are committed to unification or have already merged under the CPA banner.
SOURCE: CPA Canada
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