One of the frustrations I have experienced as an auditor is the statistical information made visible by the AICPA and publications from others is that the economic data mentioned routinely lags behind two or three quarters on the date it is published. Another trade association reports giving trends in the religious communities, but the survey information is provided late in the year for the prior calendar year.
The result is when I’m working on an audit or review several months later, the readily available economic data is from the start of the fiscal year I’m analyzing. Sometimes the data is for the prior fiscal year I’m considering. That doesn’t do me much good.
Long time ago I came across a comment that CPAs ought to start tracking key economic indicators on their own.
What a great idea!
For many years I have been accumulating data for inflation, unemployment rates, labor force participation, new unemployment claims, along with GDP by quarter and full year.
Doing so not only lets me monitor trends at an economy wide level but also nudges me to monitor for economic data as it is released.
All that keeps me better informed on what’s going on in the wider economy beyond what I see amongst my clients. At least I think it keeps me better informed.
Tracking the data real-time also lets me think through by myself what is going on instead of reporters telling me what to think.
I will continue to track various economic indicators and share with you here on this blog. Will accumulate some additional graphs from the data I’m tracking.
My hope is this information will help you while providing audit, review, compilation, and consulting services.
Also hope it is helpful for finance leaders in the non-profit community.