61% of U.S. Finance Leaders Say Fed Chief’s Comments Affect Business Planning

November 15 2013

Survey of CGMA designation holders shows some already rethinking
investment, borrowing and hiring strategies amid coming change in Fed leadership

New York  – Janet Yellen’s comments at her confirmation hearing to become Federal Reserve chairman reverberated beyond the Senate banking committee on Thursday, and could influence the planning and decision making of nearly two-thirds of the nation’s CFOs and finance chiefs.
Sixty-one percent of senior U.S. Chartered Global Management Accountant designation holders surveyed by the American Institute of CPAs said the comments and actions of an individual Fed chairman have at least moderate influence on their business planning. That’s due in large part to the role they see for the Fed chairman on the world stage. The majority, 58 percent, say the person in the position has significant influence on the world economy. Already, some CFOs and other senior finance leaders are rethinking investment strategies, borrowing strategies and hiring strategies, according to the survey.
“As leader of the central bank for the world’s largest economy, the Federal Reserve chairman has considerable sway over the cost of capital, the strength of the dollar and other facets that affect how we do business,” said James R. Blake, CPA, CGMA and CFO of Morey’s Piers in New Jersey.  “Finance teams across the country and around the world are monitoring the confirmation process for any hints of shifts in policy direction that could have repercussions for business planning.”
The majority, 59 percent, of CGMA designation holders surveyed don’t think change in Fed leadership will hasten the economic recovery. The change does little to alleviate one of the biggest obstacles they face – uncertainty in Washington. Indeed, those finance leaders surveyed said uncertainty in the U.S. capital is the biggest external challenge they face, ahead of shifting customer demands, access to capital and the pace of technological change.
With change at the Fed, CGMA designation holders surveyed said they want to see more focus on unemployment, transparency and, for 30 percent, a faster end to quantitative easing, according to the survey.
About the survey: The AICPA fielded the email survey between Oct. 15 and Oct. 18 among U.S. CGMA designation holders with CFO, controller and other senior-level job titles. It received 688 responses.

For more information about the survey, please contact:

Jonathan B. Cox
AICPA media relations
T: 919.402.4499
E: jcox@aicpa.org