The third quarterAICPA Economic Outlook Survey, which polled executive officers, chief financial officers, controllers and other certified public accountants in U.S. companies, has found that one in five companies expect to hire new staff in the coming year.

The majority of survey takers (51 percent) said their companies have the right amount of employees. But nearly one in five companies say they expect to hire new staffers in the coming year, compared to 17 percent last quarter and 13 percent at the end of 2013. Furthermore, 18 percent of the survey takers said they had too few employees but were hesitant to hire due to economic uncertainty.  

“AICPA’s survey results echo a key concern for businesses, which is the mismatch between open staff positions and the pool of qualified candidates available to fill them,” saidValerie Rainey vice chair of the AICPA’sBusiness and Industry Executive Committee. “That may explain why the findings show an uptick in plans for spending on training and other workforce investments.” 

For the second straight quarter, “availability of skilled personnel” was cited as the No. 3 challenge for businesses, behind “regulatory requirements and changes” (No. 1) and “domestic economic conditions” (No. 2).

The third quarter AICPA Business and Industry Economic Outlook Survey was conducted Aug. 6-26, 2014, and included 1,110 responses from CPAs who hold leadership positions. A copy of the report can be found