New Jersey’s Business Challenges and Opportunities for a New Year

New Jersey’s Business Challenges and Opportunities for a New Year


LOOKING TO THE FUTURE IS ESSENTIAL for companies that want to plan for long-term success, and COMMERCE asked many of New Jersey top business leaders to offer their predictions for 2018. Here are their insights, observations and analyses. Are you ready for 2018?


Bank of New Jersey,
By Nancy E. Graves, President and CEO
We anticipate continued growth in 2018 as Bergen County and the New York metro area continue to be strong. While construction may slow, sound projects will still be attractive. Core deposit growth remains a key strategy, but challenging in a rising rate environment. We expect commercial loan rates to increase, with five-year rates being the sweet spot for lenders.



Manasquan Bank
By James S. Vaccaro, Chairman, President and CEO
It is our belief that core community banking will continue to make significant market inroads. The adage “large enough to matter and small enough to care” will gain additional market traction in 2018 and beyond. Manasquan Bank is uniquely
positioned to seize upon those market opportunities. In general, the prevalent themes of the banking industry in 2018 will be moderate growth, continuing margin pressure and core funding challenges.




Valley National Bank
By Gerald H. Lipkin, Chairman and CEO
Valley National Bank, which acquired USAmeriBancorp with locations in Florida and Alabama, will continue to grow its franchise throughout New Jersey, New York, Florida and Alabama. We are also enhancing our customer experience by providing new technology services to our customers in the coming months, such as P2P, mobile wallet, consumer mobile app enhancements, business mobile app, interactive teller
machines, etc.



Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP
By Christine M. Fenske, Managing Partner, Asset Management Practice Leader Firms will need to continue to innovate to be competitive in 2018, especially in their use of technology. We are already looking at using things like artificial intelligence to more efficiently serve our clients and provide more value above and beyond just an audit opinion or tax return.




By John Tucci, CPA, BDO Assurance Partner, NY Metro Practice Leader, Manufacturing & Distribution Industry Group

Cyber will be on manufacturers’ radars, as the Internet of Things introduces a host of new cyber threats. In BDO’s latest Manufacturing RiskFactor Report, which analyzes risk factors cited in the 100 largest publicly traded U.S. manufacturers’ annual filings, cybersecurity broke into the “Top 5” risks, with 96 percent citing cybersecurity concerns— a 50 percent jump from just four years ago.



Deloitte & Touche LLP
By Paul Krieger, NJ Managing Partner
In 2018, we are likely to see private and middle market companies accelerate their
efforts around digital transformation. Many of these sectors are starting to view disruptive technologies such as cloud, analytics, IoT and artificial intelligence as a way to level the playing field with bigger competitors, to differentiate their products and services and free up their talent for more value-added tasks.



EisnerAmper LLP
By Anthony Minnefor, CPA, Partner-in-Charge, NJ Private Equity Group
While the number of deals being done by private equity investors has slowed somewhat in 2017, the market is still quite active and I expect that to continue in 2018. New fund formation is healthy, and an indicator of future active investment by the industry. Successful tax reform legislation would provide further buoyancy to the overall macroeconomic environment and investing landscape.



By Don Karlewicz, CPA, CGMA, Managing Partner
The business world anxiously awaits the president’s proposed tax cuts, with their promise of economic stimulus. The accounting firm industry benefits when the economy grows, so this bodes well for firms ready to take advantage of opportunities. GKG is always ready to provide clients with proactive and personal services of
the highest quality. We are looking forward to a prosperous 2018.



Goldstein Lieberman & Company LLC
By Phillip E. Goldstein, CPA, Managing Partner
Our firm will continue to grow in areas such as real estate, manufacturing, distribution, construction, retail and forensic accounting. I see a positive outlook for the accounting
industry, and large CPA firm mergers and acquisitions will continue as sole practitioners and small firms discover they can no longer go it alone in an increasingly demanding informational and regulatory environment.



Grassi & Co.
By John V. Pellitteri, CPA, Healthcare Partner
As the industry continues to evolve and more states legalize the use of medical cannabis, we believe the cannabis industry will continue to expand nationally and locally. As such, we have added more people to our team to help clients through the
myriad of business, financial and complicated tax issues that exist with this industry. We feel medical research will continue to gain traction in the cannabis industry as the healthcare community obtains more information on both the benefits and negative effects on patients and society.



Klatzkin & Company LLP
By John Blake, CPA, Partner
My prediction for the craft beer industry in 2018 is continued growth. I expect that the growth will be at a slower pace than the past five years has seen. There is currently a bill sitting in the U.S. Senate to reduce the federal excise tax. If this bill were to pass, it would support the continued growth of this sector.



New Jersey Society of CPAs
By Ralph Albert Thomas, CGMA, CEO and Executive Director
We anticipate 2018 to be replete with a variety of challenges for the accounting industry, but I’m confident some great progress will also be made. Professionals continue to leverage technology to be more efficient, automated and cloud-based, while realizing cyber security’s importance. Obtaining and retaining the most qualified individuals and appropriate skill sets will be a high priority.



By B.J. Agugliaro, NJ Managing Partner
In addition to our continued role in building trust through quality services in each of our lines of business, at PwC we see a focus on digital transformation through emerging
technologies (and disruption caused by cyber breaches). Additional focus will be on changes in regulations and tax reform, being fit for growth and attentiveness to the workforce of the future.



Sobel & Co., LLC
By Alan D. Sobel, CPA, Managing Member
As clients continue to be impacted by regulatory changes, including tax reform and healthcare, we will ensure our knowledge is keeping pace to assist clients to assess and navigate the effect on their unique situations. We will continue to monitor technology advancements in artificial intelligence and Blockchain and incorporate those into a proper vision and strategic direction for our firm.




Atlantic Health System
By Brian Gragnolati, FACHE, President and CEO
Building healthier communities will become increasingly dependent on ensuring access to care that is affordable and inclusive. Hospitals and health systems will partner more collaboratively with innovators in technology, community outreach, government, insurance and commerce. The greatest improvements in our field will be achieved by organizations that set aside their differences and work as agents of change to
improve lives.



Englewood Hospital and Medical Center
By Warren Geller, President and CEO
The implementation of a state-of-the-art electronic health record system, along with the continued growth of our physician practice network and emphasis on population
health management, will provide our current and future patients with more seamless, comprehensive, and high-quality care for treatment or preventive services. As the industry continues to evolve, investments in these sectors will be crucial to the success of all hospitals.



Holy Name Medical Center
By Michael Maron, President and CEO
High health insurance deductibles and co-pays mean patients are increasingly using cost as a factor when choosing providers. In 2018, healthcare leaders, policymakers, and the business community must address the need for price transparency from both insurance companies and providers to lower healthcare costs. Rates paid by insurers to each contracted provider should be published so consumers can make educated decisions as to how they spend their healthcare dollars.



RWJBarnabas Health
By Barry H. Ostrowsky, President and CEO
In 2018, RWJBarnabas Health and Rutgers University, which recently announced a partnership to become New Jersey’s largest academic health system, will escalate the transformation of health in our state. RWJBarnabas Health will also broaden our understanding of the impact on health of social determinants and continue to dedicate our mission to addressing inequities.



The Valley Hospital and Valley Health System
By Audrey Meyers, President and CEO
New Jersey consumers will see the entrance of new healthcare products and services, creating increased competition. Valley will continue to invest in its consumer friendly services and provide safe, high-quality care to its patients. We’ll decrease the cost of care and improve outcomes by streamlining clinical processes, integrating care and ensuring that patients are guided efficiently through the healthcare system.




McCarter & English, LLP By Joseph T. Boccassini, Esq., Managing Partner

We envision growth in several of our practice areas, including intellectual property, corporate, venture capital investment and commercial real estate. Our extensive experience in these areas has been a significant factor in our strong financial performance, and enables us to continue to invest in the practices our clients rely on.


NPZ Law Group, P.C.

By David H. Nachman, Esq., U.S. Managing Attorney
In 2018, U.S. immigration will focus on national security, on-the-ground intelligence
and extreme vetting. We continue to hope that such scrutiny does not come at a high cost to our nation’s ability to compete internationally for the extraordinary talent of
researchers, scientists, and other highly skilled foreign workers.





NAI James E. Hanson

By William C. Hanson, SIOR, President
2018 will progress in much the same way as 2017 ended. Continued high demand across the industrial and multi-family sectors will power a robust northern New Jersey commercial real estate market well into next year. As a leading brokerage in this market, we anticipate a continued high volume of deals, as we work on behalf of a wide variety of businesses and investors.



Terrie O’Connor Realtors
By Terrie O’Connor, Broker/President
According to the National Association of Realtors, 95 percent of homebuyers use the Internet in their search for a home. Thus, you need a strong, consistent online presence—including social media—so your listing can reach thousands of buyers. Home buyers are also shopping for homes on their smartphones, so make sure listings shine on that small screen.

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