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In U.S., Exports Could Be Key

Manufacturing companies and wholesale distributors of all sizes are employing a number of different strategies to stay in the game in these challenging economic times.

According to a survey conducted by accounting firm Clifton Gunderson, five key areas that CEOs are focusing on for the future are: increased domestic sales (51 percent), operational efficiencies (34 percent), cost cutting (24 percent), new product mixes (18 percent), and mergers and acquisitions (17 percent). Customer relationships and customer needs are foremost in the minds of smaller companies as they try to grow domestic sales.

“Interestingly, many companies may not be addressing more concrete strategies that could help them thrive and grow as the economy picks up,” said James J. Andreucci, Clifton Gunderson’s manufacturing niche team leader. “First, exporting may be a key factor for companies that want to improve profits and create a buffer against uncertain U.S. sales. Large U.S. manufacturers are experiencing increases in profits from exporting, yet 49 percent of companies surveyed by the Manufacturing Outlook say they do not export and have no plans to export.”

In addition to evaluating additional North American and overseas opportunities, Andreucci said CEOs should be taking a good look at financial strategies that involve cost segregation, fixed asset reviews, research and development credits, and energy-related incentives.

“Like finding money in your own bank account, these tactics can significantly reduce tax burdens and increase cash flow,” he said. “Considering that 44 percent of companies surveyed for the Manufacturing Outlook are concerned about new taxes, it’s in CEOs’ interest to streamline tax strategies now and be prepared for future changes.”

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