Economic growth hinges on resolving long-term fiscal issues, improving tone of political debate, finance execs say
Las Vegas – October 29, 2013 – Finance executives overwhelmingly believe that resolving long-term fiscal and deficit issues will be critical to economic growth and that both sides of the political spectrum must be able to solve these issues by working together, according to a survey released today by the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP).
The survey asked CFOs, corporate treasurers and other senior level financial professionals attending the AFP Annual Conference in Las Vegas about how the current political and economic environment would impact corporate treasury and finance operations. Of respondents, 78 percent believe a resolution to fiscal and deficit issues must be achieved before sustained economic growth can occur.
In addition, 51 percent of executives believe economic growth is contingent upon a positive and sustained resolution to political gridlock and an improvement in the tone of political debate. In fact, the continued inability of the White House and Congress to reach long-term consensus on critical issues affecting business and the economy has made companies more hesitant to invest for future growth, with half of executives surveyed saying the impasse has made them reluctant to hire and invest in the U.S.
“It is time to move on,” said Jim Kaitz, AFP’s president and CEO. “Corporations are saying quite clearly that they won’t hire or expand in the U.S. until we find a way to debate in a civilized manner and find the best way to put our house in order.”
Other actions that executives believe are necessary for economic growth are reduced regulatory complexity and uncertainty (44 percent), a resolution to uncertainty around the implementation and future of the Affordable Care Act (31 percent), and a reduction in corporate tax rates (25 percent).
Looking ahead, the vast majority of finance executives expect the Fed to begin to taper its accommodative monetary policies sometime in 2014, but more than half do not expect the taper to begin until at least the second half of 2014 or during 2015. In the current interest rate environment, three fifths of companies are taking advantage of still lower interest rates, with the expectation that rates will eventually rise, by refinancing long-term debt or issuing new debt.
ABOUT THE SURVEY
On Monday, Oct. 28, AFP surveyed attendees of the 2013 AFP Annual Conference in Las Vegas about business and economic conditions. The survey generated 1,136 responses from senior finance and treasury executives across a broad range of companies, typically with annual revenues over $500 million. See findings on http://www.afponline.org/economy
Headquartered outside Washington, D.C., the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP) is the professional society that represents finance executives globally. AFP established and administers the Certified Treasury Professional and Certified Corporate FP&A Professional credentials, which set standards of excellence in finance. The quarterly AFP Corporate Cash Indicators serve as a bellwether of economic growth. The AFP Annual Conference is the largest networking event for corporate finance professionals in the world.
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