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AICPA poll shows health care, taxes top list of small business concerns.

Health care and taxes are the top concerns of small businesses, according to the results of the first online poll of the AICPA Virtual Grassroots Panel. The poll, conducted in Feb., provides a snapshot of the small business environment in which CPAs are actively involved.

Small business success has long been important to CPAs. In fact, it was identified as one of the profession's four critical message areas as part of the AICPA's new CPA Ambassador Program (The CPA Letter, Jan.) which mobilizes CPAs as highly trained and influential spokespeople.

Approximately 400 CPAs were polled on four topics: the concerns of small business in local economies; CPAs' strengths and capabilities beneficial to the small business community; the organizations serving small businesses; and the top state or national legislative and regulatory issues affecting small businesses. Health care and taxes were deemed "extremely important" among small business concerns, with other pressing issues being labor, the local economy, declining profitability, succession planning and OSHA.

Asked about CPAs' strengths that are extremely important to the small business community, respondents said the ability to create trustworthy, high-quality relationships, and objectivity and integrity. Additional attributes considered very important included the capability to provide a breadth of services; being attuned to broad business issues; possessing detailed knowledge of a business or industry; having the expertise necessary to work with small businesses through various business cycles; and the capability to link data, knowledge and insight together to provide quality advice for decision making.

On the subject of organizations most valuable to small businesses, respondents said specific industry groups or associations. State/local economic development agencies, chambers of commerce and the Small Business Administration were mentioned as well. Other organizations noted included colleges and universities, local community organizations, governments, churches, and small business and minority development centers.

Tax-related issues emerged as the top priority legislative and regulatory issues for small businesses. Within tax issues were such items as the consistency, complexity, compliance and structure of tax laws; state income tax laws; increasing state taxes; property taxes; estate taxes; payroll taxes; the amount of total tax burden; interstate tax compliance and tax relief. Health care, which covered issues such as health care insurance, access, laws and availability, was the second topic of priority. Wage/hour laws, workers compensation and the cost and complexity of regulations also surfaced as areas of concern.
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Title Annotation:news update
Publication:CPA Letter
Date:May 1, 2004
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