Some companies may be facing unprecedented challenges as they reopen after quarantine, but a majority of business leaders are optimistic the economy will be on much more stable footing a year from now.
TMF Group, a professional services company, conducted a survey of business leaders to gain a better understanding of how they planned to move forward during the coronavirus pandemic, as well as their thoughts on the economy’s recovery.
A majority of the business leaders surveyed believed the economic damage would not be long-lasting. In fact, 74% of respondents said they were very confident or somewhat confident in the U.S. economy, while 66% said the same about the global economy.
More specifically, 67% of respondents predicted the U.S. economy would recover within a year. Of that group:
- 33% said it would take seven months to a year
- 23% said it would take three to six months
- 11% said it would take less than three months
Respondents were slightly less optimistic about the global economy, with only 56% believing it would bounce back within a year. The business leaders also acknowledge that a number of obstacles remain.
Barriers to future growth
Throughout the pandemic, business sentiment has evolved as the coronavirus crisis has spread globally. In April, one survey found that most business owners believed their businesses would survive the crisis. However, a different survey done later that month found growing fears among business owners that their companies might not make it through the pandemic.
Respondents to the TMF Group study admitted that businesses will have challenges in the coming years. When asked to name the biggest obstacles to their company’s growth in the next few years:
- 52% said lower consumer confidence and/or a U.S. economic recession/depression
- 44% said uncertainties in trade related to pacts, sanctions, etc.
- 34% said changes to domestic or international regulatory, compliance or tax policies
Respondents also acknowledged the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak and outlined what long-term changes their companies would make:
- 60% said they would introduce a remote working policy
- 60% said they would expand a remote working policy that is already in existence
- 48% said they would implement more stringent health and safety policies
- 47% said they would cut back on the number of in-person meetings
- 19% said they would outsource more critical business functions such as payroll and bookkeeping
Companies expect quick rebound
However, respondents believed their companies would rebound financially relatively quickly. The largest percentage — 32% — believed their company’s finances would rebound in seven months to a year. Looking at the other responses:
- 24% said three to six months
- 18% said less than three months
- 17% said 18 months
- 9% said two years or more
Respondents also credited stimulus efforts from the federal government with helping them weather the storm. In fact, 61% said the stimulus had a very positive or somewhat positive effect on their businesses.
Methodology: Global professional services firm TMF Group commissioned research firm Finn Partners to survey 300 business executives from global companies with more than $100 million in annual revenue. Among the respondents, 55.7% were C-level executives or business owners and 25% were presidents and managing directors. The survey was conducted from April 17 to 23.