National economic pessimism surges: CPA Canada Business Monitor

TORONTO, Oct. 13, 2015 /CNW/ - Pessimism about the national economy climbed sharply among professional accountants in leadership positions in the third quarter of 2015, according to a survey conducted for Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada).

The latest CPA Canada Business Monitor finds that 40 per cent of the business leaders surveyed are pessimistic about how the Canadian economy will perform over the next 12 months. That is a significant jump from the previous quarter when 20 per cent of the respondents expressed pessimism. The last time pessimism levels were this high was in 2009.

Optimism levels in the quarterly research fell to 17 per cent in Q3 compared with 29 per cent in the second quarter of 2015. Just over 40 per cent of the professional accountants surveyed in the third quarter were neutral about the prospects for the Canadian economy.

"What a difference a year makes," said Kevin Dancey, president and CEO, CPA Canada, adding that in the third quarter of 2014 optimism stood at 48 per cent. "So far this year, pessimism levels have been higher than usual. However, more recently, there have been mixed indicators about where the Canadian economy is heading, including signals of growth, so it will be interesting to see what the next quarterly results reveal."

In the opening quarter of this year, more survey respondents were pessimistic about the Canadian economy than optimistic, something that had not occurred since the fourth quarter of 2011. Optimism did overtake pessimism in the second quarter of this year only to fall behind again in Q3.

Oil prices remain the number one challenge to the Canadian economy cited by 38 per cent of survey participants. It was followed by uncertainty about the Canadian economy (15 per cent). On a positive note, 71 per cent of the business leaders surveyed believe the U.S. economy is growing.

Company specific

Company optimism sits at 46 per cent, so it continues to hover around the 50 per cent mark which has been the case for the previous quarters of 2015. This is how the professional accountants surveyed feel about the prospects for their own companies over the next 12 months.

Focusing on revenues, 57 per cent of the respondents are projecting growth over the next 12 months, similar to the previous quarter. For profits, 51 per cent of those surveyed anticipate an increase. Fifty-six per cent were forecasting an increase in Q2.

Turning to employee numbers, 36 per cent of those surveyed are predicting growth at their company, basically unchanged from the previous quarter. Thirty-nine per cent of the respondents anticipate no change while 24 per cent expect a drop and the rest do not know.


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

For the Q3 2015 study, emailed surveys were completed by 613 of 5,785 identified by CPA Canada as holding senior positions in industry (CFOs, CEOs, COOs and other leadership roles). The response rate was 11 per cent, with a margin of error associated with this type of study at ±3.9 per cent, with a confidence level of 95 per cent. The survey was conducted from September 2 to September 18, 2015.  A background document is available online at

About CPA Canada
The new Canadian designation, Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA), is now used by Canada's accounting profession across the country. The profession's national body, Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada), is one of the largest in the world with more than 200,000 members, both at home and abroad. The Canadian CPA was created with the unification of three legacy accounting designations (CA, CGA and CMA). CPAs are valued for their financial and tax expertise, strategic thinking, business insight, management skills and leadership. CPA Canada conducts research into current and emerging business issues and supports the setting of accounting, auditing and assurance standards for business, not-for-profit organizations and government. CPA Canada also issues guidance and thought leadership on a variety of technical matters, publishes professional literature and develops education and professional certification programs.


For further information: Tobin Lambie, Principal, Media, CPA Canada, T: 416-204-3228, C: 647-302-3761,; Diana Sorace, Manager, Media Relations, CPA Canada, T: 604-694-6700, C: 604-551-4487,


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