COVID Top Issue Hindering Growth

A majority of Canadian business leaders consider the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic the number one challenge hindering the country's economic growth, says a survey conducted for Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada). About half (52 per cent) of respondents cited the pandemic fall out as the top economic challenge; much greater than the next identified factor. However, the findings of the ‘CPA Canada Business Monitor (Q3 2020)’ also revealed that not all businesses are feeling the pain. While the majority of professional accountants in leadership positions surveyed (58 per cent) reported decreased revenues for their organizations since the start of the pandemic, 20 per cent also reported unchanged revenues while 21 per cent reported increased revenues. Optimism among the survey participants regarding the Canadian economy sits at 17 per cent which is dwarfed by those expressing a pessimistic viewpoint (46 per cent). A further 36 per cent is taking a ‘wait-and-see’ neutral approach. Respondents are split on how long precautions businesses have put into place to protect customers and employees will have to remain in place, with 31 per cent saying less than 18 months and 55 per cent saying 18 months to three years. Only nine per cent thought the precautions would be needed for more than three years. Despite the current challenges, over the next year, 47 per cent of respondents are predicting their businesses will see increased revenues, 43 per cent are foreseeing increased profits, and 28 per cent anticipate an increase in employee numbers.