March 28, 2007 -- Certified Public Accountants serving as CEOs, CFOs, and in other executive financial positions are optimistic about the economy, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants reported this week.

Of more than 2,000 members surveyed across a range of industries -- the majority representing privately held companies -- 68 percent said they are expecting their businesses to expand over the next 12 months, the report said.

Another 55 percent said they expect to boost spending on staff and other capital investments, the report said.

On the downside, 42 percent said they anticipated total health-care costs to rise by as much as 8 percent in the coming year, the report said.

"Most respondents expect increases in revenue, profits, and the number of employees," John Morrow, one of the group's vice presidents, said in a statement. "The key concerns revealed by the survey are employee benefits costs and the anticipation that these expenditures will continue to rise."

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