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Focus - Signs of slowing

image Denise Bendele, Partner, Audit Services, RSM US LLP San Antonio, TX

SAN ANTONIO - RSM US provide services to a wide array of construction segments, including architectural and engineering firms, commercial contractors, highway and street construction companies, residential contractors and specialty contractors.




    With nearly 11,000 professionals in 85 offices nationwide, our industry-focused service delivery model provides a high level of partner involvement with our 3,500-plus construction clients and a hands-on, local client service approach, with ready access to the resources and capabilities of a national firm. -cmw

How would you describe the state of the construction industry in general terms?  Have you experienced an increase in business? Slowdown?

    After roaring back to life after the Great Recession, the overall economy has continued to show relative strength in recent years, bringing the construction industry on a profitable ride. But there are signs that the pace of growth in the construction sector is slowing.
    Total construction spending declined in late 2018 and early 2019 for the first time in seven years. Any rise in interest rates could, and the tight labor market will, put inflationary pressure on the sector, and the long-running expansion is overdue for a correction. While the pundits aren’t predicting another Great Recession, the International Monetary Fund‘s most-recent World Economic Outlook predicts a global slowdown in growth through 2019 for 70 percent of the world economy, followed by a potential recovery by 2020.

 What are the “hot button” issues in your industry?
    A tight labor market, evolving accounting standards and shifting tax concerns make this a challenging time for construction companies. Construction projects and capital improvement programs are complex financial expenditures for project owners, presenting significant risks to a company’s strategic goals and potential for growth.
    Emerging technologies and robotics are being adapted into the industry. Digital solutions like cloud and mobile technologies, robotics, advanced analytics, project and performance management technologies are critical for contractor’s successful operations and will help with  increased project sizes, rapid growth and constantly changing business landscapes in construction. However, the increased use of digital technologies exposes information and data through multiple channels, making security and privacy a major concern for middle market businesses.

 What are the major changes in the industry in recent years relating to the type of work you do?
    Regulatory changes with revenue recognition, lease accounting and tax reform. Digital transformation of the finance function, including increased technology and automation, which is increasing efficiencies and accuracies.
    Bendele, a certified public accountant, has more than 30 years of experience in public accounting and is a leader in the construction industry practice. Her experience includes construction financial statements, closely held corporations, corporate taxation, succession planning, surety bonding, system selection and implementation, strategic and profitability planning, benchmarking, litigation support, business valuations and mergers and acquisitions.
    She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, National Association of Certified Valuation Analysts (NACVA), Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants (TSCPA) and San Antonio Chapter of TSCPA, Construction Industry CPAs/Consultants Association (CICPAC), American Subcontractors Association (ASA), Associated General Contractors (AGC) San Antonio Chapter, Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA), University of Texas at San Antonio College of Business Advisory Council and Girl Scouts of America, Audit Committee chair.
    Bendele is a board member of the Texas State Chapter  Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Texas at San Antonio. -cmw

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Carol Wiatrek meditor@constructionnews.net