A new survey from the American Institute of CPAs today found that 54% of business leaders believe that their businesses would face slight, moderate or significant effects if a second round of fiscal support does not materialize this year or in early 2021. Thirty-four percent said that an additional stimulus would have no effect on their operations. The survey reflects the views of CPAs who hold executive positions in both public and privately-owned organizations of all sizes across a broad spectrum of industries.
When asked about the most helpful steps the government could take in the next year, 83% said that making progress in controlling the pandemic would be most helpful. Fifty-two percent said that avoiding overly burdensome regulations would help, while 35% said it would be most helpful to keep corporate tax rates low.
Respondents were split on their greatest pandemic-related concern; 25% said they were most concerned about the safety of their employees and customers, while another 25% said that uncertainty regarding the lifting or re-imposition of stay-at-home-orders was their biggest worry. In terms of the pandemic’s effect on staffing, 41% said they had downsized their staff anywhere from 1% to 50% compared to pre-pandemic levels.
The survey also gauged business leaders’ overall economic outlook through the CPA Outlook Index. The index—which consists of nine components—was up eight points from the third quarter. Respondents’ optimism about the economy was up 13 points from the previous quarter. The share of businesses who said they plan to expand also ticked up slightly, rising from 43% of firms in Q3 to 47% in Q4.