Senior U.S. financial executives are confident in the financial performance of their own companies, even if the economy does not perform well this year, said a survey from accounting firm Grant Thornton.
The survey, which polled 122 chief financial officers and comptrollers at U.S. companies, found that more executives said they expected results to improve at their own firms (66 percent) than said they expect the U.S. economy to improve (51 percent). Only about half of the executives said they would hire more workers this year
"Corporate America has a sense of confidence that they are going to get better," said chief executive Ed Nusbaum, in a statement. He also noted that many of the surveyed executives said that the costly corporate reforms in the last few years are beginning to have real benefits.
Just over half of the respondents (55 percent) believed the quality of financial reporting has improved since the Sarbanes-Oxley Azsct was passed. "The tone that comes out of this from the accounting side is that they are in favor of improved accounting standards," Nusbaum said. "Of course, they are always concerned about the cost benefit."
Executives also were supportive of further accounting reform. More than 80 percent of the executives felt there should be uniform global accounting standards and that companies should be required to account for pension plans on their balance sheet. And despite the perception that increased liability for directors would hurt the ability of companies to fill corporate board seats, 64 percent of the executives polled said they are not finding it more difficult to recruit directors.
Finally, executives were not so confident in the ability of auditors to catch mistakes; with nearly 70 percent of executives feeling it is still possible to intentionally misstate financial statements without an independent auditor finding the error.
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