perhaps unsustainable highs we saw last year.
Some 95 percent of executives are forecasting
growth with 85 percent saying that growth will
exceed 6 percent. Solid numbers by any measure, but down from the ridiculous 98 percent
and 94 percent figures last year. So, do those
forecasts and projections of top-line growth
make it to the bottom line?
In 2019, an eye-popping 93 percent of firm
leaders anticipate net profits will improve,
while only 2 percent say they’ll be down this
year. The other 5 percent say they anticipate
no change in net profits. And 59 percent, down
from 62 percent last year, say net profits will
be up more than 10 percent in 2019.
As part of the survey, we asked participants
to rate how concerned they are about certain
internal and external issues. There, the survey
showed continued positive momentum as new
client business development and client retention continue to top the list. However, pricing
pressures and sales cycles are starting to creep
back up as concerns, which often happens
when belts begin to tighten.
Meanwhile, internally, the biggest concerns
in 2018 are keeping staff morale and retention
of employees, indicating a circling the wagons mentality as firms perhaps begin to hunker
down for what they anticipate could be a rough
stretch. Setting new strategic goals/direction,
resetting compensation expectation were also
on that list of priorities.
Whether the consulting profession continues to outpace the economy and race along at
breakneck speed in 2019 remains to be seen.
One thing we’re sure of, based on the results of
our survey, is that firms are being realistic about
how fast, and for how long, they can continue at
the current pace. Pumping the brakes a bit, even
despite the external economic reality, might not
be a bad idea given the internal operating metrics
happening these days at most firms.
As always, it’ll be fascinating to watch as it
THE 2019 EXECUTIVE OUTLOOK:
WHO TOOK THE EXECUTIVE
FIRM SIZE (EMPLOYEES)
More than 10,000
5,000 to 9,999
251 to 999
1,000 to 4,999
Less than 250
T YPES OF FIRMS