Benchmark Business Index Continues Decline in 4th Quarter

The Michiana Benchmark Business Index, based on a survey by the certified public accounting firm of Kruggel Lawton CPAs, decreased in the 4th quarter of 2015 by just over 5% from the previous quarter. The overall Benchmark Business Index for the 4th quarter was 55.59, out of a maximum possible score of 100, down from 58.61 for the 3rd quarter of 2015.

Kruggel Lawton CPAs conducts this survey of chief financial officers (CFOs) in for-profit companies in the Michiana region on a quarterly basis. The survey tracks changes in companies’ revenue, profitability, and employment levels compared to the same quarter during the prior year, along with CFOs’ perception of the business outlook for their companies. Survey respondents’ input on these four metrics is combined into the Benchmark Business Index, which serves as a gauge of the Michiana-area business climate.

CFOs from 38 Michiana-area companies participated in the 4th quarter survey. Compared to the prior quarter’s survey, three of the four survey metrics – Profitability, Revenue, and CFO Optimism – declined 5-7%, and the decline in Employment was just under 2%. This most recent quarter’s decline in CFO Optimism was the largest quarterly decline since the survey began five years ago, and the overall Benchmark Index is now 8% below its level at the inception of the survey.

“Based on the 4th quarter Benchmark Business Index survey, the Michiana-area economy did not appear to finish 2015 on a high note,” said Terry Bush, a director at Kruggel Lawton. “The fact that the overall Index has now fallen to the lowest point since reaching its highest score two years ago is noteworthy. The third straight quarterly decline in CFO Optimism may indicate that CFOs’ expectations for 2016 are not overly strong.”

If you are a CFO in a Michiana area for-profit business and would like to participate in this survey and receive results, please contact Terry Bush at or call 574-289-4011.













  1. Beth North

    Thank you for continuing to do this survey and to share its results. Are there other regional surveys that have noted a similar trend? Aside from regionality, what are the other common metrics among the 38 companies?

    • Terry Bush

      Thanks for your comment on this survey, Beth. I have not been monitoring similar surveys done in other locales, but I am certain there are many. I frequently hear about national surveys of business conditions, and in fact our survey was inspired by the Duke CFO Global Business Outlook.

      The most significant commonality among participants in our survey is that we invite only individuals from for-profit companies to participate. In addition, participating companies are all headquartered in the Michiana/South Bend region.

      Terry Bush

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