EKS&H, the largest accounting and consulting firm headquartered in the Rocky Mountain region, released its 8th annual Business Outlook Survey report today. More than 250 business owners and executives representing a diverse mix of business sizes, industries, and ownership types, participated in this year's survey. The EKS&H Business Outlook Survey remains unique in that it provides the outlook and opinion of business leaders, rather than economists or academics.

The survey asked executives to consider actual results from 2013 as well as expectations for 2014 related to the economy, their industry, and their business. Furthermore, participants were asked about goals and challenges for the upcoming year as well as strategies to achieve these goals. Responses are compared to previous years' survey results.

EKS&H Consulting Partner Kent McSparran said of the results, "On the surface, the overall outlook for 2014 looks good. However, reading between the lines hints at more measured expectations."

Among the most informative results are:

- In 2013, though 80% of expected revenue growth, only 65% realized actual growth. Similarly, 70% expected profitability to improve, but only 56% realized actual improvement.

- Though fewer respondents achieved expected growth, those that did, reported significant success: 23% reported revenue growth of more than 20% and 28% reported profit increases of more than 20%.

- The optimism score for the regional, U.S., and world economy all increased from 2013, with the regional outlook remaining highest, and the world outlook increasing the greatest.

- Only 68% expect revenue growth in 2014, as opposed to 80% in 2013. This is a hint that businesses are modifying expectations of a rebound in their markets and fewer of them are counting on growth.

- Only 55% expect to see some growth in employment in 2014. If actual results are consistent this year, less than half will see any employment growth.

-In terms of goals for businesses in 2014, retaining great talent was the second most important goal, whereas finding great talent came in fourth.

-Self-funding continues to be the primary source of capital, an indication of a lower-risk mindset. Bank debt remains the most popular external capital-raising strategy in 2014.


Results from the 2014 EKS&H Business Outlook Survey were also analyzed by company size, industry, and location. The annual report includes those results and comments considered to be the most actionable and insightful, and provide middle-market executives valuable and strategic.

For more information or to view a copy of the report, please contact Paul Kaiser at 303.846.1260 or pkaiser@eksh.com.