(OKLAHOMA ) – While unemployment continued to plague much of the country, state certified public accountants say Oklahoma is moving in the right direction.
According to the 2011 Oklahoma Economic Outlook Poll1, which surveyed members of the Oklahoma Society of s, only 6 percent of respondents believe Oklahoma’s job market will decrease this year, compared to 18.3 percent from last year, and 48.2 percent from the year before last. Additionally, 55.6 percent said the state will see more jobs in 2011, compared to 36.2 percent from last year and 14.1 percent from the 2009 Oklahoma Economic Outlook Poll. Accordingly, 58.7 percent of respondents said Oklahoma’s economy would improve in 2011, compared to 39.4 percent from last year. Only 8.6 percent believe the state’s economy will be “worse” or “much worse,” compared to 24 percent from last year.
When it comes to their own businesses, more than 68 percent said they were “optimistic” or “very optimistic” and only 6.1 percent said they were “pessimistic” or “very pessimistic,” which is similar to last year’s results. Less than 4 percent expect their businesses to “decrease moderately” or “decrease substantially,” compared to more than 12 percent from last year.
As the most important issues affecting Oklahoma, state budget issues ranked first, with education, health care and unemployment ranking closely behind, in that order. Nearly half (48.7 percent) of OSCPA members ranked the national deficit the most important issue facing the country, with unemployment, health care and tax reform coming in second, third and fourth, respectively. Many members added “tort reform” as an additional issue facing the country.
Steve Fite, , a sole practitioner in Lawton, Okla., wrote, “I would rank the out-of-control lawsuits the number one problem. This costs the economy more than anything else because so much money is unnecessarily spent to prevent them in every kind of business.”
Rob Lewis, , a unit operations manager with the Oklahoma City Parks & Recreation Department in Oklahoma City, added, “Building a business friendly climate – I would rank [first], as it would solve multiple issues…”
Some members commented that businesses need to find smarter ways to operate. For example, Dmitry Volfson, , an assurance senior with HoganTaylor in Tulsa, Okla., wrote “I believe that businesses are realizing that there is much cost saving that can be achieved by reviewing the firm’s approved vendor list. Many vendors are willing to re-negotiate rates and/or improve services by simply giving them a call. Just because you have been utilizing the same vendor for many years does not mean that they are providing the best available service. Shop around and keep track of the savings!”
Jimmy J. Williams, , the managing partner of Jimmy J. Williams & Co., P.C. in McAlester, Okla., said he thinks many companies are already being more resourceful.
“Overall, I think the general economy will improve in Oklahoma at a rate of 3 to 3.5 percent in gross domestic product,” he wrote. “However, unemployment will remain at 5 to 5.5 percent due to more efficient use of existing employees and resources by companies.”
Phil Brockhaus, , shareholder with Peters & Chandler PC in Oklahoma City and current OSCPA president, said members of the OSCPA are ideally suited to take the economic pulse of the state.
“Our members are financial experts who work as tax consultants, college professors, auditors, s, s, attorneys, business advisers, controllers and so on,” Brockhaus said. “They work on a day-to-day basis with business leaders and consumers.”
Brockhaus added, “Regardless of whether your financial outlook for 2011 is glass-half-full or glass-half-empty, it’s important to know that s can offer sensible financial solutions to help you reach your full financial potential.”
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 www.KnowWhatCounts.org for a free referral, a free 30-minute consultation and more information on business and consumer services.
The OSCPA 2011 Oklahoma Economic Outlook Poll was delivered to all OSCPA Fellow Members listing an e-mail address and consenting to surveys (5,304) and conducted over the Internet. Survey responses were accepted from Dec. 14, 2010 to Dec. 21, 2010. The confidence level is .95, and the margin of error is +/- 3.73 percent.