American CPA group study shows mixed results

Consumer satisfaction’s latest index marked by minute increase
Spurred by significant reductions in inflation and loan delinquencies, the 2015 fourth quarter PFSi (Personal Financial Satisfaction Index) released recently by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) shows that Americans personal financial satisfaction has increased substantially from a year ago.
The index registered 15.9 in the fourth quarter, an almost 134 percent increase from the 2014 fourth quarter level of 6.8. However, there was only a 0.1 increase in the PFSi from the previous quarter, indicating the momentum of increased personal financial satisfaction has slowed.
The PFSi is calculated as the difference between the Personal Financial Pleasure Index and the Personal Financial Pain Index. The slight gain from the prior quarter was due to a 0.8 decline in the Pleasure index offset by a 0.9 point decline in the Pain index.
The pain index is at a level of 43.5, which is 19.1 percent lower than a year ago. This is led by a 68 percent decline in the inflation component from the previous year – the largest change in the period for any component of the pain or pleasure index. Inflation began to fall in mid-2014, and has been extremely low for all of 2015. The drastic decline in oil prices has been a major factor in low inflation rates.
“With the Federal reserve increasing its rate by 25 basis points in the fourth quarter of 2015, inflation will continue to be a focus for the central bank,” said Jimmy J. Williams, CPA/PFS, a member of AICPA’s National Accreditation Commission. “Consumers should watch oil price fluctuations, as that has a strong impact on inflation and could become an important consideration in the decision to continue raising rates in 2016.”
A 23 percent reduction in loan delinquencies from the previous year, as well as a 15 percent decrease in underemployment also helped drive down the Pain Index.
The Personal Financial Pleasure index registered 59.4, 2 percent lower than a year ago. The decline from the prior year was driven by 17 percent drop in the CPA Outlook Index and a 10 percent drop in the PFS 750 Market Index, with both of these components showing volatility over the past year. These declines were partially offset by 11 percent gains in both home equity and job openings.
“Job openings in most sectors were stable and achieved some growth, with notable exceptions in the extractive and drilling industries,” said Williams. “In addition, there has been increasing stability in the housing markets nation-wide for the most part, which has helped drive up prices.”
The U.S. housing market as a whole made considerable progress in 2015, as the volatile bounce off the bottom experienced from 2012 through 2014 gave way to a more stable environment. Specifically, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Boston currently have historically high valuations, while Las Vegas, Chicago, and Atlanta still have problems stemming from significant proportions of properties with underwater mortgages.
The CPA Outlook Index decreased in the fourth quarter of 2015 based on declines in the index components related to the U.S. economy, organizational optimism and expansion, and revenue and profit expectations. The CPA Outlook Index found CPAs who serves as CEOs and CFOs have sharply reined in expectations for profit and revenue in 2016, with anticipated growth for those two key performance indicators at their lowest level since the end of 2012.

Geer named local vineyard’s assistant winemaker
Mountain View Vineyard and Winery in Jackson Township continues to expand its staff as it prepares to expand into a new winemaking facility and event center later this year as it recently hired chemist Leslie Geer to serve as assistant winemaker. She will work with owner Randy Rice.
Geer will manage day-to-day activities related to wine production and management, tracking, laboratory analyses and transferring the current winemaking operations to the new facility.
She had an impressive 30-year career as a research chemist in the pharmaceutical industry. She has degrees in biochemistry and biology from East Stroudsburg University and Wine Foundation Certification from The Wine School of Philadelphia. Her expertise will lend itself well to the art of winemaking. Owner Randy Rice said, “Her expertise in chemical analysis from the pharmaceutical industry will bring our winemaking to a new level,” said Rice.

ESU Business Accelerator to host workshop
The East Stroudsburg University Business Accelerator Program is presenting a workshop titled The Power of the Inbox. The workshop, which will be held from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Jan. 20 in room 333 of the Innovation Center, aims to educate professionals on effective e-mail marketing and crafting e-mails that leave powerful first impressions.
Karl Stearns, president of KMS Marketing Solutions, will be the keynote presenter. Topics for Stearns’ presentation will include five easy steps to harness the power of the inbox, creating great content, tracking results, and customizing a mobile-friendly template that matches the brand.
Click here to register. Registration is free, however, seating is limited and registration is required. For more information contact Mike Gildea, director of the Business Accelerator and Entrepreneurship at ESU, at 570-422-7953.

Reitemeyer named president of BNI Poconos chapter
Yvonne L. Reitemeyer, Financial Adviser, ChFC, Frailey Insurance and Financial Services has been selected President of BNI Mountain Chapter – Poconos starting Oct. 1.
Meetings are held 7 a.m. every Thursday morning at the Quality Inn on West Main Street in Stroudsburg.

Business Network International is an organization which is “the world’s largest referral organization” with more than 150,000 members worldwide and is in more than 58 countries worldwide. BNI was founded in 1985 by Dr. Ivan Misner “for the primary purpose of building powerful referral networks”. The BNI organization works by creating a group of people from various industries and encouraging regular passing of referrals.
• Each chapter allows one person per occupational classification, and prospective members must be approved via an application process.
• BNI’s philosophy is “Givers Gain” – members are expected to focus on giving referrals to other members to build relationships and receive referrals in return.
• Chapters have specific policies regarding required attendance in order to cultivate the relationships needed to create a comfort level in referring business.
• Chapters track the monetary amount of passed business in order to prove the value of the financial and time commitment.

Total annual value of referrals: 5.4 million referrals resulting in $6.5 billion (U.S.) (2014).

As a Financial Adviser, Reitemeyer said, “I am humbled and honored to be able to provide our members with the valuable protection and coverage that life insurance provides. BNI gives me the opportunity to share values and feelings about the importance of life insurance. I’m able to protect what matters most to referrals, potential new members and their families.”

For more information or to attend a meeting, call Reitemeyer at 570-421-7447, ext. 233, or visit the Facebook page at BNI Mountain Chapter Poconos PA .

Cueva named Wayne Bank VP, regional office manager
Pilar Cueva has joined the Wayne Bank as Vice President and Regional Community Office Manager of Monroe County. Cueva is based in the Stroud Mall Community Office in Monroe County and will be working with customers across the Pocono region.
“Pilar is a great addition to our customer service staff, with over 13 years of banking experience in the area. She will serve as a valuable resource for customers seeking financial services and support in the Poconos,” Lewis J. Critelli, president and CEO of Wayne Bank, said
Cueva has a degree from John Jay College, and a wide range of banking experience and interests that all support her ability to help local customers improve their financial outlook, and in turn help the community grow.
Wayne Bank is a subsidiary of Norwood Financial Corp., Member FDIC, and is located in Honesdale. The Bank has 15 community offices in Wayne, Pike, Monroe and Lackawanna Counties. The stock trades on the NASDAQ Global Market under the symbol – NWFL.

Chamber to host Report to Business on Feb. 12
The Greater Pocono Chamber of Commerce will host its annual Report to Business with Monroe County Commissioners John Moyer, Charles Garris and John D. Christy on 8 to 10 a.m. on Feb. 12 at Shawnee Inn. The $20 fee includes a buffet breakfast. Reservations are required by calling the chamber at 570-41-4433.

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