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January 4, 2014

CPA poll finds future promising

NORMAN — State CPAs are optimistic on OKs financial outlook

Despite lingering questions about the new Affordable Care Act and its pending consequences on businesses, nearly half of Oklahoma certified public accountants believe the state’s business environment will improve, which is almost a 10 percent increase from last year.

According to the 2014 Oklahoma Economic Outlook Poll, which surveyed members of the Oklahoma Society of CPAs, 47.9 percent said Oklahoma’s business climate will improve, compared to 38.2 percent from the 2013 poll. Similarly, 44.1 percent said the Sooner State’s business climate would stay the same, compared to 50.1 percent from last year. Only 8 percent said it would decline, compared to 11.2 percent last year.

Regarding Oklahoma’s overall economy, more than half of CPAs said it would improve, while 38.4 percent said it would remain unchanged. Last year, CPAs were practically split on whether it would improve (41.2 percent) or remain unchanged (42 percent). A small percentage—8.2 percent—said Oklahoma’s economy would be worse in 2014. However, that is an improvement from last year when 15.5 percent said the state’s economy would be worse.

“We currently have a good economy in Oklahoma and we seem to be improving compared to the nation,” said Janelle Montgomery, CPA, an accounting professor at Rose State College in Midwest City.

Bill Schlittler, CPA, chief financial officer with Dolese Bros. in Oklahoma City agreed with Montgomery.

“The Oklahoma economy has been humming along for the last two or three years,” Schlittler said. “It seems like the rest of the country is catching up with Oklahoma.”

Darrel White, CPA, a sole practitioner in Woodward, said the business climate in Oklahoma would likely stay the same, but that the overall economy in the state would improve.

“The energy industry is pretty stable, which has given us overall stability,” White said. “We do have a more business-conducive environment, which I think has helped us comparatively to many other states.” He added, “At some point, the national economy has to see some improvement, and I think we will benefit, especially in the ag sector.”

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