The Economy

Presidential Election Weighing on Executives

A survey finds nearly two-thirds of executives say the race for the White House is a consideration in their business planning.
Matthew HellerMarch 25, 2016

Nearly two-thirds of U.S. business executives say the outcome of the 2016 presidential election is a consideration in their company’s business planning, budgeting or forecasting for the next fiscal year, according to the American Institute of CPAs.

The election is having less of an impact on staffing decisions, capital spending and business expansion, AICPA found in a recent survey of chief executive officers, CFOs controllers and other senior-level CPAs.

“Company executives are clearly monitoring the potential business impact of the presidential election,” Arleen R. Thomas, AICPA’s senior vice president for management accounting and global markets, said in a news release.

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“But overall economic conditions and challenges for their particular industries are weighing more heavily in their calculations right now, and that’s likely why we’re seeing little election-cycle impact on such key categories as hiring or capital spending,” she added.

Respondents ranked the election fourth in impact on their business planning, behind potential changes in general economic conditions, the industry-specific outlook for their businesses, and interest rates and borrowing costs. The election was tied with potential ramifications of the strong dollar and ahead of volatility in equity markets.

Eighty-one percent of the sample said the election is either not a consideration in staffing decisions or that they plan to continue hiring at their current pace. Another 13% said they will defer hiring until after the election, while 5% said they will reduce hiring before the election and 1% said they planned to increase hiring before the election .

As far as capital spending and business expansion, 80% said the election either will not be an issue or they will continue spending at the current pace. Another 10% said they will defer capital expenditures until after the election, 8% said they will reduce it prior to the election, and 2% said they will increase spending before the election.