October 20, 2023

Inflation, Tax Credits, and Unprepared Workers

Inflation, Tax Credits, and Unprepared Workers

There aren’t many good things to say about inflation, but the latest edition of the Marcum-Hofstra CEO survey did find some positive news: Nearly half of CEOs (47.5%) have felt that the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 had a moderately positive ripple effect on the economy, and 38% acknowledged benefits from the law. The law has provisions for both businesses and individuals. We’re not out of the woods—the Kaiser Family Foundation just reported that the cost of employer-sponsored healthcare went up in 2023 at the fastest pace in more than a decade—but at least some of the damage control on inflation seems to be working.

Many CEOs seem to be looking to counterbalance the high cost of doing business with an aggressive approach to tax savings. This quarter’s edition of the Marcum-Hofstra CEO survey also found that 83% of CEOs were familiar with tax credits and incentives for their industry, and 51.3% had taken advantage of those incentives—good news for their bottom line. However, many respondents are still not tapping into them, citing the complexity of applying as a barrier, meaning they could essentially be leaving money on the table.

If you’re among them, I encourage you to pick up the phone or shoot a quick email to your Marcum professional with any questions you have about whether you qualify and how to apply. We’re here to support you. We handle these applications for our clients regularly, and you may be surprised at how quickly we can submit them. It’s essentially found money you can apply to new projects in your business and is well worth looking into.

Beyond this, the percentage of CEOs reporting a “very positive” outlook in the survey declined from 12.4% to 11. However, their optimism held relatively steady, with significant gains among real estate, technology, and healthcare professionals.

If there’s one obstacle ahead that the survey picked up on, it’s the lack of preparedness that many new hires have to do their jobs. The survey found that just 30% of the CEOs felt new hires had most of the skills they needed to be successful at work, while 53.2% believed new hires required more training. Even worse, 47.5% said new hires were less prepared than in the past.

This lack of preparedness may be a knock-on effect of the pandemic. Some of the new hires were in college or graduate school during that time and may not have been able to avail themselves of on-campus extracurriculars. Or they may have found they could not take relevant courses during the lockdowns. That’s not to mention that technology like AI is shaking up many industries, leaving many people scrambling to catch up.

It’s a good reminder of how important it is to invest in workplace training. In the accounting profession, every state in the country requires mandatory continuing education, so our field is filled with lifelong learners. Despite that, the accounting industry is changing so rapidly that we feel it is necessary to go above and beyond what’s required at Marcum.

As some of you know, our team can add to their professional knowledge through Marcum U. This in-house training program provides learning tailored to every stage of their careers and has given us a competitive edge in hiring and retention. The curriculum is divided into learning paths that align with our Standards of Excellence (Technical, Business Development, Leadership, Client Experience, and Staff Development). Among the programs offered are technical and essential professional skills training, CPA review programs, a Trusted Advisor program, coaching programs, and more. If you’re looking for inspiration for your own in-house “U,” many of these ideas could translate well to other industries with some customization. As I see it, the better prepared today’s new hires are, the more we can look forward to the workplace of the future—which they will be running someday.