Accountants have mixed feelings about the Obama administration’s proposed financial regulatory overhaul, according to a new survey.

The survey of 350 finance professionals by the Institute of Management Accountants and recruitment firm Ajilon Finance found that 48 percent of the respondents believe the plan will have a very positive or somewhat positive impact. However, 40 percent of the accountants surveyed say the plan will have a barely positive or negative effect.

Accountants who say the financial regulatory overhaul plan will have a barely positive or negative effect believe it will be too difficult to implement and enforce (29 percent), the country will find itself in a similar mess in a few years (11 percent), the plan is “too little, too late” (5 percent) or the plan doesn’t go far enough to reduce excessive risk-taking and improve consumer and investor protections (3 percent).

“The Obama administration’s final financial regulatory reform plan will have a significant impact on the accounting community, standards and methods,” said Andrew Reina, regional practice director for Ajilon Finance Solutions. “As we gear up for the overhaul, companies and CPA firms will have to be proactive about educating their finance and accounting staff on these changes. Job candidates will also need to display a new array of skills, namely a proficiency in fair value accounting, loan-loss provisioning and International Financial Reporting Standards.” 

Among the proposed changes included in the reform plan impacting accountants are improvements in the application of fair value accounting, loan-loss provisioning, global accounting standards, legislation regulating executive compensation, and the creation of a Consumer Financial Protection Agency for overseeing mortgages, credit cards and other kinds of consumer debt. The AICPA testified in Congress on Wednesday against subjecting CPAs to regulation by the proposed agency (see AICPA Wants CPAs Exempted from Consumer Agency).

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