Q3 CFO Survey Indicates Businesses Holding Steady

Published Wednesday, October 23, 2019

The third quarter 2019 Michiana Benchmark Business Index (BBI), compiled by the certified public accounting and consulting firm of Kruggel Lawton CPAs, showed improvement for the second straight quarter after reaching its lowest level ever in the first quarter of 2019. The overall third quarter BBI was 54.78 out of a maximum possible score of 100, an increase of over three percent from the second quarter.

Kruggel Lawton conducts this confidential survey of CFOs in for-profit companies in the South Bend/Elkhart region on a quarterly basis. The survey tracks changes in companies’ revenue, profitability, and employment levels compared to the same quarter of the prior year, along with CFOs’ perception of the business outlook for their companies. Participating CFOs’ input on these four metrics is combined into the overall Benchmark Business Index to provide a barometer of the Michiana-area business climate.

Noteworthy third quarter survey results include:

  • The 3.34 percent increase in the overall BBI is not exceptional on its own. However, after an increase of over two percent in the prior quarter, an increase in two consecutive quarters is worth noting.
  • Of the four metrics, profitability increased significantly (11 percent) from the prior quarter, while all three of the other metrics experienced very little change.
  • CFO outlook (or optimism) declined two percent from the prior quarter, continuing a steady downward trend of nearly two years, in fact down 15 percent from late 2017. At the same time, CFO optimism consistently remains the highest-rated of the four survey metrics.

“We seem to hear ever more concern and anxiety about the economy at the global/national level and here in the South Bend region,” said Terry Bush, a director at Kruggel Lawton CPAs. “With a second consecutive quarterly increase in our overall survey index, we see an indication that for-profit companies in the region are generally holding steady. In fact, strong increases in the profitability metric since the first quarter of this year indicate that companies are earning healthier profits to re-invest in their business and people and address challenges and opportunities.”

If you are a CFO in a for-profit company in the South Bend/Elkhart region and would like to participate in this survey, please contact Terry Bush at or call 574.289.4011, ext. 205.