Phila. executives foresee higher profits for 2011

It’s only natural to care more about jobs than profits.

But we should take it as another good sign that most of the executives and board members of area companies who responded to a recent survey foresee an increase in profits in 2011.

The results of the November survey by the Audit Committee Institute of KPMG L.L.P. mirror those of its May survey. Of the 71 respondents, 58 percent anticipate a moderate rise in profits, while 15 percent expect a significant increase.

Without the prospect of profit growth, you can kiss any chance of job growth good-bye. Data released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis last week showed U.S. companies churning out profits at annual rate of $1.66 trillion, the highest level since the federal government began monitoring the statistic more than 60 years ago.

So where are the jobs? Lagging the recovery, as usual.

Those of us who don’t run companies wonder how this could be. The thinking goes: Companies are rolling in profits, so they should use them to hire people.

If only it were that simple. Bosses are only human, and when they’re uncertain about the road ahead, they tend to go slow.

Jerry Maginnis, KPMG’s Philadelphia office managing partner, said there remained a fair amount of trepidation among area businesses. About one-third of those surveyed cited the potential impact of the Dodd-Frank financial-reform law.

Specifically, the discussion at KPMG’s recent roundtable centered on the law’s whistleblower provisions, under which employees could be financially rewarded for alerting the Securities and Exchange Commission to violations of securities laws, and the potential clawback of incentive compensation to senior executives following a restatement of financial results.

Again, you and I might say that those are potential risks that managements and boards will just have to accept.

But throw in an ongoing European debt crisis, the lack of consensus over the Federal Reserve’s efforts to jump-start U.S. economic growth, and worries over how China will cool off its economy, and you begin to appreciate why no big company wants to place that first bet that happy days are here again.

Qlik moves quick

While uncertainty is paralyzing some, Qlik Technologies Inc. seems to be wasting no time expanding its local operations.

The business-intelligence software maker has signed an agreement to lease more space at Radnor Financial Center from Brandywine Realty Trust. According to an SEC filing, Qlik’s lease would grow to about 39,200 square feet from the current 17,300.

Why make a big deal over an office with about 50 people more than doubling in size? Because Qlik is one of those companies whose CEO confidently talks about building an enterprise with $1 billion in annual sales.

And Lars Bjork just might drive it there. The customer base for Qlik’s software had grown from 2,000 active users in 2005 to about 16,000 as of Sept. 30. Qlik reported revenue of $50.3 million for the third quarter compared with $36.3 million for the same quarter a year earlier.

Qlik, which raised $115 million in its initial public offering in June, moved into its first 12,000-square-foot office at 150 Radnor-Chester Rd. in November 2005.

Xerox CEO in town

Ursula Burns, chairman and CEO of Xerox Corp., will bring here her message of how the business community could encourage improvement in math and science education.

The only African American woman to head a Fortune 500 company, Burns will speak at Girard College, 2101 S. College Ave., at an event hosted by the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce at 9 a.m. Tuesday.