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The pulse of the profession: survey of California CPAs makes priorities clear.

In December, CalCPA commissioned a statewide survey of CPAs--members and nonmembers--to learn more about their professional and business challenges as well as to find out how CalCPA can provide them the greatest value. The following is a snapshot of our key findings.

FAVORABLE ASSOCIATION

CalCPA compares favorably to the AICPA in the hearts and minds of the state's CPAs. When asked about their impression of CalCPA, 91 percent have a favorable impression. Not surprisingly, members are much more likely to hold a favorable view of CalCPA (96 percent) compared with nonmembers (84 percent). By comparison, only 86 percent of CPAs have a favorable impression of the AICPA.

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ISSUES FACING THE PROFESSION

The most pressing issues facing the profession today don't occur in isolation-many of the unique issues blur together into a cause-and-effect or circular relationship.

Members and nonmembers were equally concerned with over-regulation (24 percent each), while members were more likely to list attracting and retaining staff (28 percent) than nonmembers (10 percent). The issue of ethics came in third, with 15 percent of members and 22 percent of nonmembers listing it as a top concern. The public's image of the profession came in fourth (16 percent of members; 12 percent of nonmembers).

ISSUES FACING BUSINESSES

While over-regulation topped the list of issues facing the profession, it falls to No. 4 on "issues facing individual businesses," in favor of staffing concerns and bottom-line issues such as generating growth and rising costs.

Individual businesses are most concerned with attracting and retaining quality staff (40 percent members; 29 percent nonmembers), while generating/maintaining clients and growth came in second, with 21 percent of members and 12 percent of nonmembers weighing in. Rising costs came in third.

ISSUES FACING ALL CPAs

When asked to rate the most important issues for CPAs on a scale of one to 10, improving the public's image of the profession came in first, with an overall 7.97 rating, while strengthening the profession's voice in the regulatory process was a close second (7.60 overall).

CPAs also cite these two issues as the top two most important goals for a professional association representing CPAs.

OUTLOOK: PAST AND PRESENT

While the economy at large has been somewhat uneven for the last five years, CPAs throughout the state have fared extraordinarily well. Compared with five years ago, more than half (55 percent) of all CPAs say they are doing better financially, of which 30 percent say they are doing much better.

What's more, the link between CalCPA membership and individual success is strong. Members are more likely to state that they're doing better overall (66 percent) compared with nonmembers (44 percent).

And CPAs have a bright outlook for the future. About six in 10 (63 percent) feel that their firm's financial situation will be better five years from now. But again, the splits are revealing. CalCPA members have a much brighter outlook of the future than nonmembers, further underscoring the benefits of membership. Members are more apt to feel positive about their future than nonmembers (71 percent of members see a much better or somewhat better outlook in five years, vs. 55 percent for nonmembers).

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Top5 Professional Issues

Over-regulation

Attracting & retaining staff

Ethics

Public's perception of CPAs

Scandals

Top5 Business Issues

Attracting & retaining quality staff

Generating/maintaining clients & growth

Rising costs

Keeping up with new rules

Over-regulation
Favorability

CalCPA 91%
AICPA 86%
Members 96%
Nonmembers 84%

Note: Table made from bar graph.
COPYRIGHT 2006 California Society of Certified Public Accountants
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2006, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Publication:California CPA
Geographic Code:1U9CA
Date:Mar 1, 2006
Words:576
Previous Article:Thank you volunteers.
Next Article:California Summit on Financial Literacy.
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