CHICAGO—Fifty-four per cent of CFOs in the U.S. do not foresee any changes in the health of the economy during the next six months, according to a survey by audit, tax and advisory firm Grant Thornton LLP.
Indeed, 82 per cent of CFOs surveyed are optimistic about maintaining or increasing the headcount at their respective companies over the next six months.
The survey also shows that 45 per cent believe that deficit reduction is the number one initiative to improve overall economic optimism, while 27 per cent believe job creation is the solution.
In a twist, the majority said tax incentive is not a solution to improve the overall economy, though 30 per cent said a direct tax incentive for hiring new workers would increase the likelihood of expanding their workforce.
U.S. CFOs said the biggest barrier to financial growth is the cost of employee benefits, with 56 per cent identifying healthcare and pensions as the prime culprits.
Some 77 per cent anticipate company and employee contributions to increase without resulting in any increase to benefits
“With the economy in a fragile recovery, CFOs are most concerned about rising healthcare costs when it comes to compensation and benefits,” said Stephen Chipman, chief executive officer of Grant Thornton LLP. “Most companies will continue to see a significant increase in healthcare costs unless they have taken proactive steps to promote wellness and better utilization of healthcare benefits, which can help ease the increase of these costs.”