Columbus, Ohio (Dec. 31, 2003) -- While they’re not exactly forecasting a banner year, Ohio CPAs are somewhat optimistic in their outlook for 2004, with most expecting modest salary gains, according to a survey by the Ohio Society of CPAs.

More than half (58 percent) of 733 CPAs surveyed in the State of Ohio Business Poll predicted the average Ohio employee will take home an additional 2 to 4 percent in their pay checks in 2004, according to the Ohio society. However, another 36 percent are less optimistic, predicting more modest salary increases of up to 2 percent, while a handful of respondents predicted bigger gains or no raises at all.

More than half (52 percent) of CPAs responding to the electronic survey predicted performance and incentive bonuses will remain at 2003 levels, while 30 percent think bonuses will decline or be largely non-existent. Respondents were far more optimistic about the fate of salaries for the state’s CEOs and senior managers, with 40 percent predicting salary increases ranging from 5 percent to more than 10 percent for business leaders, while 39 percent expect increases to range from at least 2 to 4 percent.

Last month, 64 percent of Ohio society members surveyed forecast that Ohio's economy would improve in 2004, driven by increased capital investments and a stabilizing employment market, and 42 percent forecast expansion in Ohio's job market. However, 77 percent rated the regulatory and governmental business climate in Ohio negatively, and 60 percent rated the economy as the top issue facing Ohioans.

-- WebCPA staff

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