South Bend-Elkhart area survey of CFOs shows most feeling OK about the economy • Northwest Indiana Business Magazine
Economy up down

South Bend-Elkhart area survey of CFOs shows most feeling OK about the economy

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Economy up down

Chief financial officers from the greater South Bend-Elkhart area mostly feel good but not great about the state of the economy.

This is according to the first quarter 2019 Michiana Benchmark Business Index recently released by Kruggel Lawton CPAs, a certified public accounting firm with offices in South Bend and Elkhart and St. Joseph, Mich. and Knoxville, Tenn. Kruggel Lawton has shared results of its quarterly survey of CFOs from small and large businesses, representing a cross section of industries in the South Bend-Elkhart area since March 2011.

The survey’s bench mark business index was 51.86 out of a maximum score of 100. A total of 37 respondents completed the survey in early April, according to a representative from Kruggel Lawton. The latest index is down more than 11 percent from the fourth quarter of 2018.

Terry Bush, a director at Kruggel Lawton CPAs, wasn’t surprised by the latest index number following numerous reports on the national sentiment over a possible softening in the economy.

He said the survey does reflect some optimism among CFOs in the South Bend-Elkhart area.

“(On) their perception of the outlook for their company, 78 percent of participating CFOs selected ‘OK, we’re treading water’ or ‘Good, we’re improving,’ which indicates a degree of optimism on the part of CFOs.”

Nationally, the government reported May 3 that the U.S. economy added 263,000 jobs in April, which beat economists’ forecast of 190,000 jobs. The government also reported the economy grew at an annual rate of 3.2 percent, which also beat forecasts of between 2 percent and 2.5 percent.

Kruggel Lawton said the survey tracks changes in companies’ revenue, profitability, and employment levels compared to the same quarter of the prior year, along with CFOs’ perception of the business outlook for their companies. Participating CFOs’ input on these four metrics is combined into the overall Benchmark Business Index to provide a barometer of the Michiana-area business climate.

Other survey highlights:

  • All four metrics that comprise the Index – revenue, profitability, employment, and CFO outlook – decreased from the prior quarter
  • The revenue and profitability metrics decreased the most – 17 percent and 13 percent respectively
  • The employment metric and the CFO Outlook metric both decreased 8 percent from the prior quarter


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