Screen Shot 2015-04-20 at 11.50.09 AMThe Michiana Benchmark Business Index, based on a survey by the certified public accounting firm of Kruggel, Lawton & Company LLC, decreased in the first quarter of 2015 by approximately 7% from the previous quarter. The Michiana area includes Indiana’s Elkhart County, home to the RV industry’s manufacturing hub.

The overall Benchmark Business Index for the 1st quarter was 58.97 – out of a maximum possible score of 100 – down from 63.25 for the 4th quarter of 2014.

Kruggel Lawton conducts this survey of chief financial officers 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. These four components are combined into the Benchmark Business Index, which serves as a gauge of the Michiana-area business climate.

Compared to the prior quarter’s survey, two of the four survey components – profitability (down 17%) and employment (down 11%) contributed the most to the first-quarter decline in the Benchmark Index. The revenue component of the survey also declined by 7% from the prior quarter. On the positive side, CFO optimism remained relatively high, increasing 5% from the prior quarter to the highest level since Kruggel Lawton began conducting the survey over four years ago.

“The first quarter Benchmark Index results – particularly the sizable decrease in the profitability and employment metrics – were a bit of a surprise,” said Terry Bush, a director at Kruggel Lawton. “However, it’s encouraging that for-profit CFO’s are still, and increasingly, optimistic about the economic and business outlook for their companies. Since CFOs and financial managers have a unique perspective in their business, we feel this component of the survey adds valuable insight.”

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 [email protected], or call (574) 289-4011.

To view other related charts click Q1 2015 Benchmark Business Survey Results.