A majority of Indiana CFOs who are also CPAs see positive indicators for growth of their company and industry, and encouraging signs for the local and state economy, although the outlook for the U.S. economy was not quite as bright.

Nearly 75 CFOs participated in a recent survey by the Indiana CPA Society asking for their views of the current economy at the local, state and national levels, as well as to compare business growth at their respective companies between 2013 and 2014 and to look ahead to the remainder of 2015.

They are seeing positive local and state economic trends, and many also noted improvement in their company's revenue, profitability and staffing levels in 2014 compared to 2013. They were also optimistic that these positive signs will continue throughout 2015. An infographic summarizing the findings is available here.

Survey respondents were asked to choose one of five options for each question: optimistic, cautiously optimistic, neutral, cautiously pessimistic and pessimistic. Each option also had a descriptor such as "everything is headed in the right direction" for optimistic, "there is potential for a better year" for cautiously optimistic, "things will stay on the same path" for neutral, etc.

When asked about the local economy in which they operate, 10 percent of the CFOs polled said they were optimistic and 54 percent were cautiously optimistic, a 64 percent level of optimism. Only 6 percent were cautiously pessimistic and just one percent was pessimistic.

The prospects for Indiana's economy were even better. While only 4 percent were optimistic, 68 percent were cautiously optimistic for a total of 72 percent optimism. Only 6 percent were cautiously pessimistic and none were pessimistic.

The outlook for the U.S. economy was a little less optimistic, but still somewhat encouraging. While only 1 percent was optimistic, 47 percent were cautiously optimistic and 36 percent were neutral. Just 16 percent fell into the pessimistic category.

With regard to company revenue, 11 percent said it increased by more than 20 percent from 2013 to 2014, while another 47 percent said it increased by 5 to 20 percent. Thirty-one percent said revenue was about the same, while only 11 percent said it was lower.

Company profitability was not quite as high. Thirteen percent said it was more than 20 percent higher in 2014 than in 2013, while 31 percent said it was 5 to 20 percent higher. Thirty-five percent reported profitability being about the same, and 21 percent said it was lower.

The survey also asked about staffing, including part-time and seasonal employees. Seven percent said their staffing was more than 20 percent higher and 26 percent said it was 5 to 20 percent higher. Sixty percent reported that staffing was virtually unchanged from 2013 to 2014. But only 7 percent saw lower staffing levels.

The positive outlook is extremely high for the remainder of 2015 for both the CFO's company and industry. On the company side, a combined 78 percent indicated that they were either optimistic or cautiously optimistic. Eighteen percent were neutral while only a combined four percent were pessimistic. On the industry side, a combined 63 percent were optimistic, 28 percent neutral and 9 percent pessimistic.

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