Some 71 percent of CPAs currently serving as chief executives and chief financial officers are optimistic about the nation's economy and its outlook for 2005, according to results from the Business and Industry Economic Outlook Survey conducted by the American Institute of CPAs. The semi-annual poll represented the views of 631 AICPA decision-makers, including 351 CFOs and 104 CEOs in privately held and public companies, not-for-profits, and other organizations. The goal of the survey is to gauge the level of confidence in the economy as a whole; prospects for organizations for the upcoming six months; spending, capital funding and workforce plans; and their level of concern about issues of importance. In addition, 62 percent of those participating in the survey indicated that the results of the 2004 presidential election will have a positive impact on the 2005 outlook. Other findings included: o 73 percent of the respondents said that they were at least optimistic, if not very optimistic, about their own company's prospects; o 12 percent of those surveyed projected substantial growth during the first half of 2005, while moderate growth is expected by 52 percent. o 31 percent said that workforce increases are in the offing, while 10 percent expected cuts in the workforce. However, in comparison to the June 2004 survey, the percentage of small companies with plans for increased capital spending declined to 40 percent, from 50 percent, while the percentage of small companies expecting to increase the size of their workforce declined to 30 percent, from 41 percent. When asked to weigh in on specific issues, the majority of CPA executives indicated greater concern about inflation than unemployment, greater concern about federal deficits than Social Security and Medicare reform, and greater concern about health care reform than tax reform.

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