2008 Industry Outlook
Designer's Challenge: The housing downturn is forcing architects to get creative.
? Going small
? More projects seeking LEED green certification
? Opportunities in the inner city
? Increased competition for architects and engineers
? Accountants pursuing mobility
? Tight budget squeezing the judiciary
? More specialty areas of law practice, including two — education law and adoption law — the state Supreme Court is expected to consider this year
The state’s economy is churning out less work, which means more competition for engineering firms, particularly those that depend on government contracts. Ed Buck, principal and vice president of Inwood Consulting Engineers in Winter Springs, says his firm, which specializes in roadway and drainage design, has had to step up its marketing efforts to win jobs. “Workload-wise, I think there’s a bit of a slowdown of some of the work from the state,” Buck says. “Counties and cities are getting impacted also. I think a lot of it stems from tax reform and the issues with property taxes.” He says the economy is forcing some firms to team up on jobs.
For Florida accountants, the global economy often ends at the state line. State-licensed CPAs wanting to do business out of state now face burdensome regulations and paperwork, says Dave Dennis, president of the Florida Institute of CPAs and a national partner for KPMG. He says Florida CPAs have joined a national “mobility” effort that would ease the rules and allow them to more easily serve clients who do business across state lines. The next step is convincing legislators to go along. “It’ll be on the table for discussion in 2008,” Dennis says. Ten other states, including Tennessee, Illinois, Virginia and Texas, have already approved the new rules.
Florida’s judicial branch consumed .7% of the state’s budget in 2007. The National Center for State Courts last compared judicial funding, state by state, in 2004. Here are the top five and bottom five funded judicial systems that year:
|% of Budget to Judicial|
Francisco R. Angones, president of the Florida Bar, will push for 2008 to be the year the state’s court system finally gets more than .7% of the state’s budget: “This is the key challenge for our state this year —?a reasonably funded judicial system.”
Currently, clerks, assistants and other judicial workers earn less than their counterparts in the state’s executive and legislative branches, which Angones says makes it hard to retain good employees. He adds that state judges don’t get health insurance; state Supreme Court justices haven’t had a cost-of-living pay increase in four years. “As the third branch of government, we are almost like beggars in our system,” he says.