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1992 Economic Census under way.

More than 3.5 million American businesses will receive 1992 Economic Census questionnaires from the U.S. Census Bureau in December. Businesses are required by law to return the completed forms by February 15.

"CPA firms should inform their clients about the census and its legal requirements and assist them in complying with its provisions," advised Arthur J. Renner, American Institute of CPAs vice-president-division for CPA firms.

According to the Census Bureau, this will be the most comprehensive economic census ever taken, measuring for the first time activity in finance, insurance, real estate, communications and utilities.

Sectors traditionally covered include real and wholesale trade, services industries, transportation, manufacturers, mining and construction industries.

Taken every five years, the census identifies trends in business activity. The federal government relies on census data to develop measures of economic change, such as monthly retail sales and the gross domestic product.

State and local agencies also use the census data in regional planning, in economic development and in efforts to attract and keep business activity in their areas. Businesses use the data for calculating market share and strategic planning. Associations and news media also make use of the data.

Information requested in the economic census includes number of employees, annual payroll and the value of goods and services provided during calendar-year 1992.

To simplify reporting, the Census Bureau designed over 500 versions of the basic census questionnaire, each one tailored to a particular industry or company size. However, while the census will measure nearly 98% of all economic activity in the nation, many very small businesses will not receive the census form.

The information provided in the census is confidential. By law, only Census Bureau employees may see individual responses, which also are exempt from the Freedom of Information Act.

Statistics from the census will be published in more than 500 printed reports and in formats for computers, including compact discs (CD-ROMs). Both publishing formats, available in hundreds of libraries across the nation, will be available for purchase from the Government Printing Office.

For additional information, contact the public information office for the 1992 Economic Census, U.S. Bureau of the Census, at (301) 763-4040.
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Publication:Journal of Accountancy
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Dec 1, 1992
Words:360
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