A recent executive summary from EisnerAmper, which has a strong presence in New Jersey, found that business leaders in the U.S. are upping the ante when it comes to investing in technology — however, they have significant concerns regarding staffing.
EisnerAmper’s National Business Summit (“Transformation Nation – Driving Intelligent Growth”) survey mostly focused on company footprint, people and technology.
The survey was taken by 140 business owners, C-suite members, family office executives and high net worth individuals in financial services, real estate, manufacturing and distribution, and technology, with representation from other sectors such as health care, professional services and nonprofits who attended EisnerAmper’s National Business Summit, held virtually in November.
The survey’s key findings included:
Over the next 12 months, leaders expect to make investments in technology (65%, compared with 63% in 2020 survey), human capital (49%, compared with 43% in 2020) and cybersecurity (44%, compared with 30% in 2020). To a lesser degree, they will invest in training (30%), process efficiencies (26%), real estate (15%) and mergers & acquisitions (9%).
A majority do not intend to downsize office space over the next year (53%, compared with 48% in 2020). A total of 10% plan to increase office size (compared with 3% in 2020). One-quarter, 25%, are undecided (down from 29% in 2020). Only 12% will downsize partially or completely (compared with 20% in 2020).
Of those that recently downsized office space, 11% reinvested those savings into technology. A modest 7% was scattered among: employee benefits (2%), distributed to the partners (2%), lowered prices (1%), employee bonuses (1%) and donated to charity (1%).
The biggest risks to respondents over the next 12 months are staff recruitment/retention (37%), taxes/regulation (17%) and economic slowdown (16%). The three least risk factors are cybersecurity (12%), supply chain (8%) and diversity/gender pay gap (1%). “Other” was 9%.
When asked if companies are having a harder time finding talent now versus 12 months ago, 54% said yes, 26% said no and 20% said it did not apply.
Respondents shared additional perks used to retain talent, including a hybrid or full-time virtual work model (57%), salary increase (31%), more vacation time (27%) and additional bonuses (22%), as well as nothing (21%) and other (9%).
Respondents have taken steps to improve diversity and inclusion over the past year: 79% said yes, 21% indicated no.
Recent steps taken to increase cybersecurity include upgraded/invested in new technology (71%), used an outside consultant or third-party provider (47%) and hired a C-suiter (17%).
For those companies that have gone to a hybrid or full-time virtual work model, they have increased their cybersecurity investment: moderately (35%), significantly (21%), not at all (15%) and does not apply (29%).