United States

RSM Releases US Middle Market Leadership Council Report

Survey Indicates Optimism in the Middle Market; Highlights Four Key Focus Areas



RSM US LLP (“RSM”) – the nation’s leading provider of audit, tax and consulting services to the middle market - today released the latest RSM US Middle Market Leadership Council (MMLC) Report, revealing overall sentiment and important areas of focus among middle market business leaders. The report is the result of research conducted by Nielsen on behalf of RSM surveying 700 middle market business leaders, and is designed to provide timely insights and analysis around critical issues for the middle market, a segment of the economy comprised of approximately 200,000 companies and 40 million jobs.

Contrary to the economic outlook widely reported in the mainstream business press during the first quarter of 2016, the latest MMLC Report finds that the middle market has been expanding for the past five quarters, and business leaders are optimistic about growth opportunities ahead. In addition, the report explores four key issues that leaders indicate will play an increasingly pivotal role for middle market businesses in 2016 and beyond:

  • Cyber and data security: The middle market continues to underestimate data security risks and challenges, despite the fact that threats regularly impact their businesses. According to the RSM MMLC Report, the number of firms reporting data breaches has doubled since the prior year.
  • Incentive compensation: Middle market leaders are turning to bonuses, raises and other benefits to attract and retain high performers in the midst of a tightening labor market. The RSM MMLC Report found 46 percent of respondents have increased employee compensation in Q1.
  • Non-traditional lending: Middle market firms stated they are increasingly turning to non-traditional lenders rather than commercial banks. Of the respondents who had used commercial banks previously, 30 percent reported that they are less likely to obtain financing from a commercial bank today.
  • Exit and succession planning: Middle market business leaders continue to emphasize the importance of exit strategy planning to maximize sale value, with 74 percent of middle market companies reporting they have succession plans in place.

In addition to revealing compelling data on these topics, the RSM MMLC Report includes actionable insights from RSM Chief Economist Joe Brusuelas; RSM Leader of Security and Privacy Services Daimon Geopfert and RSM Great Lakes Specialty Finance Leader Joe Kaczmarek.

“The middle market continues to be overlooked by analysts, despite the fact that it is a crucial driver of the U.S. economy and has thrived in the midst of challenging business environments,” said Brusuelas. “The RSM Middle Market Leadership Council Report strongly indicates that the middle market is optimistic about the future, and sheds light on the need to take a more holistic view of the U.S. economy.”

The RSM MMLC Report complements the RSM Middle Market Business Index (MMBI), which was developed in partnership with Moody’s Analytics to provide a statistically significant measure of the health and outlook for middle market businesses.

To download and read the RSM MMLC Report, visit rsmus.com. Subscribe to The Real Economy here.

RSM’s purpose is to deliver the power of being understood to our clients, colleagues and communities through world-class audit, tax and consulting services focused on middle market businesses. The clients we serve are the engine of global commerce and economic growth, and we are focused on developing leading professionals and services to meet their evolving needs in today’s ever-changing business environment.

RSM US LLP is the U.S. member of RSM International, a global network of independent audit, tax and consulting firms with more than 43,000 people in more than 120 countries. For more information, visit rsmus.com, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and/or connect with us on LinkedIn.