Marcum LLP, Hofstra Survey Shows CEOs Planning to Invest in Future

New York-based Marcum (FY17 net revenue of $469.5 million) and Hofstra University’s Frank G. Zarb of Business are partnering to survey business leaders on their perspectives on the business environment, short-term plans for growth and investment, and selected business or news developments.

The survey is being conducted as part of the business school’s MBA curriculum. Results will be presented in three installments this year.

Results from the first survey found CEOs to be “strongly bullish,” both in their current and short-term future outlook, Marcum announced.

“CEOs whose companies realized a tax savings in the first year of the new tax law described how they plan to invest the funds back into their companies, citing business expansion, debt reduction, operational improvements and increasing employees’ salaries as their first priorities,” the firm announced. The CEOs surveyed stressed recruitment and availability of talent as top priorities in capital spending and business influences.

Marcum CEO and Hofstra alumnus Jeffrey Weiner says, “It is a very positive signal for the economy and the national mood that the first Marcum-Hofstra survey revealed CEOs’ strong optimism about the business environment, despite the economic and policy flux that has characterized the past year, and the complex new tax code that has changed the dynamics of commerce from the local to the international level.”

Janet Lenaghan, dean of the business school, says, “Partnerships like this one between Marcum and the Zarb School are vital to training the next generation of business leaders. This survey, with its in-depth, real-time insight about the business climate, help us provide a pipeline of talented students who are poised meet the demands of industry and prepared to take their place in C-suite.”

Highlights of the first Marcum-Hofstra survey include: 

  • 49% rated the availability of talent among their top influences for business planning over the next 12 months.
  • 29% said talent recruitment will be one of their top capital investments in the next year.
  • 18% of CEOs gave their outlook on the business environment the highest rating of “10” and 96% rated their outlook at “5” or higher.
  • 64% of CEOs plan to invest more in their companies over the next 12 months. Technology was most frequently selected as a top-three investment priority (47%), and equipment was the No.1 priority overall (20%).
  • The three greatest influences on business planning selected by CEOs were technology (53%), economic concerns (53%) and availability of talent (49%).
  • The top external issues cited by CEOs as impacting their businesses included economic trends (76%), cost of labor (49%), cybersecurity (38%) and inflation (38%).

CEOs were also asked whether their jobs were harder now than in the past. A majority, 57%, answered “no.” Of the 43% who said the CEO job is harder now, the most frequent reason given was the challenge of “attracting and retaining customers/clients” (18%).

CEOs were also asked about the impact of the 2017 Tax Cuts & Jobs Act on their business’ tax liability. More than a quarter (27%) of respondents said their companies’ tax obligations decreased in the first year under the new tax law, while 18% said their companies’ taxes increased. About half (46%) saw no effect on their taxes.

Zarb MBA students designed the questionnaire, analyzed the survey results, and reported on the influence of these factors on executive decision-making. “The students, in addition to honing their research skills, gained a deeper appreciation of the role that external forces play in the evolution CEOs’ strategic priorities,” says Andrew Forman, associate professor of marketing and director of the co-op MBA program.

C-suite executives at 255 companies in more than a dozen industries participated in the Marcum LLP- Hofstra University CEO Survey.

For the complete Marcum LLP-Hofstra University CEO Survey and an archive of prior surveys, visit www.marcumllp.com.

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