Survey: Most execs say their business will be equally, or more, profitable in 2020

By Emily Bader
United States | Dec 17, 2019 at 10:50 am

Business leaders are remaining optimistic about their businesses for next year, but fear the possibility of a real economic slowdown, according to findings from EisnerAmper LLP‘s new executive survey.

Nearly two-thirds (76%) of respondents said their business will be “just as” or “even more” profitable in 2020 than they were in 2019, with 55% indicating “more”. Only 9% said their business will be less profitable.

The biggest concern next year includes an “economic slowdown”, at 54%, followed by talent/hiring (12%), cybersecurity (10%), taxes/regulation (9%), succession planning (6%), and other (9%).

Product and Service Sourcing

A subset of attendees were asked how confident they were in securing goods and services abroad. Forty-two percent said “somewhat” or “very” confident, with only 19% indicating “less” or “not at all” confident. The largest single figure was 39% who said overseas sourcing did not apply to their business.

Employee Compensation

When asked about employee compensation expectations as a percentage of budgets for next year, more than half (58%) said it will increase “strongly” or “moderately” compared to last year. Only 3% said it will decline “moderately” or “strongly”, with 39% saying it will stay the same.

Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Hiring

A total of 20% of respondents said AI will up hiring levels for 2020, which is almost double those who said it will decrease hiring (12%). The majority (42%), however, said it’s too soon to tell.

“This year’s survey shows that, while business leaders recognize the risk of potential economic headwinds, the mood is overwhelmingly positive, and companies believe they are well-positioned to grow,” EisnerAmper CEO Charles Weinstein said. “However, given the concerns of a potential slowdown, it is critical that companies plan methodically and comprehensively for an uncertain year. Well-capitalized and thoughtful organizations will want to be nimble and take a strategic approach with respect to both opportunities and challenges.”

The survey was taken by approximately 940 business owners, C-suiters, family office executives and high-net worth individuals at the EisnerAmper’s annual Business Summit Series held from Oct. 29 through Nov. 13.