The fourth quarter 2020 Michiana Benchmark Business Index (BBI), compiled by the certified public accounting and consulting firm of Kruggel Lawton CPAs, declined in the last quarter of the year, after surging dramatically in the third quarter of 2020. The overall fourth quarter BBI was 54.82 out of a maximum possible score of 100, a decrease of just over 7% from the prior quarter results.
Kruggel Lawton conducts this confidential survey of CFOs in for-profit companies in the South Bend/Elkhart and southwest Michigan 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 regional business climate.
Noteworthy fourth quarter results include:
Kruggel Lawton launched this survey in the 4th quarter of 2010, in the wake of the Great Recession. Ten years later, the overall Benchmark Index of 54.82 is 9% lower than the 60.22 recorded when the survey started. The three quantitative metrics (Revenue, Profitability and Employment) are all more than 10% below 2010 levels, while the CFO Outlook metric is 8% higher.
“The extraordinary 3rd quarter increase in the Benchmark Business Index was a welcome rebound from the drastic trough shown by the 1st and 2nd quarter results in 2020” said Terry Bush, a director at Kruggel Lawton CPAs. “However, the 4th quarter results are a sobering reminder that the COVID pandemic is still adversely affecting business in our region. The fact that CFO optimism remains steady – and higher than the other metrics in this survey – remains an encouraging indicator as we head into a new calendar year.”
With office locations in South Bend, Elkhart, and Goshen Ind., St. Joseph, Mich., and Knoxville, Tenn., Kruggel Lawton CPAs is a full-service accounting and business consulting firm offering assurance services, tax consulting, estate planning, business valuation, and business accounting services. Kruggel Lawton also has national and international capabilities as an independent member of the BDO Alliance USA.