Michiana Benchmark Index Shows Economic Strength

If, as some would suggest, “cash is king,” then the people who handle the cash and all of the other financial instruments available in the world of business today likely have a pretty good pulse on the health of the overall business community. Those would be the CFOs, or Chief Financial Officers. Charged with tracking cash flow and all other sorts of metrics, it’s always interesting to see what kind of metrics they place on the market.

The team at Kruggel Lawton CPAs, with offices in St. Joseph, South Bend and Elkhart, maintain an ongoing bead on the health of the market through their Michiana Benchmark Business Index, or BBI for short. They’ve released the data on their second quarter survey results for 2017 and show a strong measure of optimism by those CFOs.

Compiled by the certified public accounting firm, the 2Q 2017 BBI increased from the 1st quarter results of the year. The new report says that the overall Benchmark Index was 58.85 out of a maximum possible score of 100, up over two percent from the 1st quarter. Administrators of the survey say that consistent with nearly all quarterly results of the survey, optimism of participating Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) was the strongest contributor to the Index in the most recent quarter.

Noteworthy survey results include:

  • The upward bounce in the overall Index reversed three straight quarters of downward results…
  • CFO optimism continues to be the strongest of the four metrics comprising the Index, having been at a substantially higher level compared to the other metrics since the 4th quarter of 2016…
  • The Revenue metric had the strongest increase – nearly 5.5-percent – from the prior quarter, while the Profitability, Employment and CFO Optimism metrics all increased about 1-percent.

Terry Bush is a Director at Krugell Lawton. He says, “I believe the 2nd quarter survey results are an encouraging indication on the strength of our regional economy.” Bush adds, “Employers in our region continue to vigorously seek talented employees while at the same time leverage technology and optimize processes to increase productivity.”

Kruggel Lawton conducts this confidential survey of CFOs in for-profit companies in the Michiana region on a quarterly basis. The survey tracks changes in companies’ revenue, profitability, and employment levels compared to the same quarter of the prior year, along with CFOs’ perception of the business outlook for their companies. CFOs’ input on these four metrics is combined into the overall Benchmark Business Index to provide a barometer of the Michiana-area business climate.

Businesses in the region are finding the Michiana Benchmark Business Index to be a useful gauge. Regina Emberton, President & CEO of South Bend-Elkhart Regional Partnership says, “The collection of up-to-date data and the wide geographic range make the survey and report a valuable tool for recruiting investment into the area by providing an accurate picture of the current business climate in the region.” That partnership is a collaboration of the economic development partners from Elkhart, St. Joseph and Marshall counties in Northern Indiana and Berrien and Cass counties in Southwest Michigan.

Terry Bush is looking forward to seeing the results of upcoming surveys to see if they can sustain broad improvements in revenue and profitability. He tells us, “Given their unique role and insight into their companies’ prospects, CFOs’ relatively higher level of optimism is a positive leading indicator.”

If you are a CFO in a Michiana area for-profit business and would like to participate in the survey and receive results, you can contact Terry Bush at tbush@klcpas.com or call him at 574-289-4011.

Kruggel, Lawton & Company, LLC, is a full-service accounting and business consulting firm offering assurance services, tax compliance and consulting, estate planning, business valuation, business accounting services, and executive searches. Kruggel Lawton also offers national and international resources as an independent member of the BDO Alliance USA. They have offices located in South Bend and Elkhart, Indiana, as well as St. Joseph, Michigan. Visit www.klcpas.com to learn more.