Executives at private companies are largely optimistic about their businesses’ prospects for growth, according to a new survey by KPMG.
The survey of nearly 500 senior executives of private companies from different industries with revenue ranging from $100 million to $1.5 billion found that 58 percent of the respondents said their companies are poised for revenue growth of 6 percent or greater in the year ahead, with 25 percent predicting growth above 11 percent. More than half (57 percent) of those surveyed reported that federal regulatory changes have had a negative impact on their businesses, while higher taxes and uncertainty about tax reform have impeded job creation and growth at their companies.
Despite the perception that many companies are working toward IPOs, going public was not top of mind for the survey respondents, with 40 percent of them saying they saw no perceived benefit, 35 percent citing too much regulation, and 35 percent pointing to a loss of a pride of ownership as the reasons to stay private.
“It’s clear that many of the private companies we surveyed are not just growing, they are thriving,” said KPMG audit chief Jim Liddy in a statement. "While not immune from the effects of national or global issues, the flexibility and nimbleness that comes with being privately held has helped business leaders innovate their way to growth.”
In addition to increasing revenues, survey respondents reported healthy current profitability, a positive outlook for the future and plans to create jobs. Forty percent said their current year-on-year profits increased 6 percent or more, while 20 percent reported profits grew 11 percent or more. For this year, 51 percent predicted that profits would grow at least 6 percent, with 23 percent expect growth of 11 percent or more.
The fastest-growing private companies remain powerful forces in job creation in what is otherwise a largely jobless recovery, with more than half (56 percent) saying they plan to add more staff over the next year. Still, their plans to grow staffing lag behind revenue growth.
While a majority of private companies in the survey were growing revenues, those that were not seeing such growth (13 percent) cited a range of reasons. Most frequently (41 percent), companies said their customers were experiencing their own financial duress. Other issues included increased domestic competition (37 percent) along with global uncertainty and economic unrest (30 percent). Meanwhile, 26 percent say their revenues have declined because of new regulations, and 22 percent point to increased foreign competition.
Overall, the total number of survey respondents identified a range of factors hampering not only their own performance but that of the broader economy, with 37 percent of executives saying regulatory and legal pressures top their list of growth barriers. That figure increased to 60 percent among health care enterprises, which are dealing with regulations associated with the Affordable Care Act, and 56 percent among financial services companies, who are coping with changes related to the Dodd-Frank Act.
Pricing pressures (36 percent), taxes (23 percent), labor costs (22 percent) and the difficulties of finding a qualified workforce (20 percent) all weigh heavily on survey respondents as they look to the future.
“Being a private company may shelter you from some of the short-term reporting mandates that face public companies, but it's no panacea,” said KPMG’s Private Markets Group national leader Brian Hughes. “Leaders of private companies are still subject to the economic and regulatory environment in the U.S., and—depending on their business—the global economic realities and regulations as well. So it’s critical that they are up to date on these challenges and have clear strategies on how to manage them.”
Register or login for access to this item and much more
All Accounting Today content is archived after seven days.
Community members receive:
- All recent and archived articles
- Conference offers and updates
- A full menu of enewsletter options
- Web seminars, white papers, ebooks
Already have an account? Log In
Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access