|Ohio CPAs see moderate gains in sales, hiring in 2013|
|Written by Sentinel-Tribune|
|Monday, 16 December 2013 10:06|
Ohio CPAs report they remain uncertain about the Affordable Care Act even while business environment steadily improved over 2012.
Despite being close to implementation, confusion and uncertainty are keeping many organizations in a holding pattern with regard to decisions on health care. CPAs in Ohio polled last month said that their companies are far from making up their minds about coverage, as more organizations are evaluating options in 2013 (45 percent) than 2012 (38 percent).
Fewer respondents (4 percent) said that their organization would eliminate health care coverage compared to 8 percent in 2012. Those planning to continue the same level of coverage remained unchanged (33 percent) while 15 percent will offer coverage at reduced benefit levels, up from 12 percent last year.
On the positive side, more than half of CPAs reported moderate gains in sales and hiring in 2013 versus 2012.
Nearly 600 CPAs who are partners in public accounting firms, c-suite officers in Ohio businesses and not for profit entities participated in the survey conducted Oct. 28 - Nov. 8, 2013.
"The Ohio Business Poll is a useful measure of the confidence Ohio's top financial executives-CPAs-have in Ohio's business environment," said Scott D. Wiley, CAE, president and CEO of The Ohio Society of CPAs. "CPAs are more optimistic about business prospects than one year ago. This is evidenced by a slight increase in hiring along with planned investments in key areas like technology and workforce training."
2014 Business Outlook
Overall, business seems to be slightly better in 2013. More than half (61 percent) of CPAs saw substantial or modest revenue growth in their organizations compared with 55 percent in 2012. Revenues were flat for 25 percent of respondents versus 27 percent in 2012. CPAs are slightly less optimistic for 2014, with 6 percent predicting significant revenue gains and 60 percent expecting moderate increases. Top business challenges included the changing regulatory environment (35 percent), the economy (34 percent) and rising employee and benefit costs (25 percent).
Technology, process improvements and workforce training were identified for the second year as the top planned areas for substantial or moderate investment. Organizations plan to spend more in 2014 on technology (72 percent) versus the previous year (63 percent). Workforce training also saw a significant jump, as 50 percent plan to invest in 2014 versus 37 percent in 2013.
"Increasing technology investment has been a trend over the past several years," said Wiley. "CPA firms are improving business efficiencies by moving to the cloud, incorporating strategies for mobile platforms and using customer relationship management (CRM) software."
Organizations in Ohio hired slightly more employees in 2013, with 32 percent indicating a substantial or moderate increase this year versus 28 percent in 2012. Most respondents believe their organization has the appropriate number of employees (55 percent). Another 37 percent say they have too few but of those, 18 percent plan to hire and 19 percent are hesitant.
Nationally, the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) reported similar hiring plans in its third quarter Business & Industry U.S. Economic Outlook Survey. Results for 3Q said that 53 percent of companies have the appropriate number of employees; 19 percent have too few and will hire and15 percent have too few but will not hire.
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