More State CPAs Financially Optimistic for 2010

Though unemployment reached all-time highs in 2009, state certified public accountants seem to believe Oklahoma is on the rebound.

According to the 2010 Oklahoma Economic Outlook Poll, which surveyed members of the Oklahoma Society of s, only 18.3 percent of respondents believe Oklahoma’s job market will decrease this year, compared to 48.2 percent from last year. Additionally, 36.2 percent said the state will see more jobs in 2010, compared to 14.1 percent from last year. Accordingly, nearly 40 percent (39.4) of respondents said Oklahoma’s economy would improve in 2010, compared to about 20 percent (19.9) from last year. Less than 24 percent believe the state’s economy will be “worse” or “much worse,” compared to more than 50 percent from last year.

When it comes to their own businesses, more than 64 percent said they were “optimistic” or “very optimistic” and only 7 percent said they were “pessimistic” or “very pessimistic.” However, more than 12 percent expect their businesses to “decrease moderately” or “decrease substantially,” compared to less than 9 percent from last year.

As Congress continues to battle health care reform, most OSCPA members (70 percent) believe employers are “likely” or “somewhat likely” to begin eliminating health care coverage for employees in the near future, similar to last year’s results (68.4 percent). As an issue impacting the country, health care ranked second, behind unemployment. As an issue impacting the state, health care ranked third, behind unemployment (first) and education (second).

Of those predicting an unchanged Oklahoma economy, a few s, like Chris Papin, an attorney with Kevin W. Burnett & Associates, in Oklahoma City, said financial resurgence will take time.

“Once stimulus funds run their course, there will be a period of economic adjustment before true recovery will take place,” Papin said. “Improvement will likely be followed by another decline because the improvement is based upon stimulus funds that have artificially boosted [the economy] for a short time.”

Don Keel, , a controller with Stewart Industries International in Guthrie, Okla., agreed with Papin about the slower recovery, but for different reasons.

“It is my hope that the current psychology of pessimism in America and the world will gradually decrease among consumers,” he commented, “I do agree with most economists that this will be a slower than normal recovery for the U.S. economy, but this is not a terribly bad thing. I believe it indicates there will be more conservatism and savings than that of the last 20 to 30 years.”

However, unlike Papin, Keel said he believes Oklahoma’s economy will improve in 2010.

“With Oklahoma City’s recently-approved 3 project, central Oklahoma is primed to attract businesses of all sizes,” he said. “That investment, combined with our lower-than-average cost of labor, housing, et cetera, should be broadcast to businesses in our country and around the world … it would alleviate unemployment, pump money into the state economy to recharge the housing market and provide more tax revenue, which will provide money for education and various state office budgets.”

Other members, like Kent Garrett, a with Road Science in Tulsa, Okla., are hopeful for 2010.

“I look at 2010 with cautious optimism,” Garrett commented. “I hope … leaders will take necessary steps to ensure that government programs and services are adequately funded by appropriate and fair tax policy. Further, I hope that the financial sector and regulatory bodies will work together to learn from recent events to guard and protect against future economic crisis.”

Garrett added, “It’s difficult enough for individuals and companies to plan and save for the future — it’s virtually impossible if confidence in financial institutions and markets is undermined by lax controls and oversight.”

“Members of the OSCPA are financial professionals working across Oklahoma, including auditors, tax consultants, controllers, college professors, s, s, attorneys, business advisors and so on,” said Tulsa Jeff Frable, a partner with Curzon, Cumbey & Kunkel, and current OSCPA president. “Who better to take the economic pulse of Oklahoma than those financial professionals who work day in and day out with community leaders, business executives and consumers?”

Frable added, “Whatever your financial outlook is for 2010, it’s important to remember s can offer sound financial advice for businesses and individuals, whether you’re going through tough times and need to find stability or you’re seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and want to invest as you look toward your future.”

With more than 6,000 members in public practice, industry, government and education, the OSCPA is Oklahoma’s only statewide professional association of s. Since 1918, the organization has continued to provide professional education, conducted quality reviews and promoted and maintained high standards of integrity and competence within the accounting profession. Visit CPA referral, a free 30-minute consultation and more information on business and consumer services.

Updated 01-08-2010

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