Accounting Today and business outsourcing solutions giant ADP have formed a strategic partnership with the introduction of the Executive Research Council, whose members will be surveyed each month to create the new Accountants Confidence Index.

The Accountants Confidence Index -- a new monthly economic indicator that leverages the economic insights of accounting professionals to offer fresh perspectives about the current and future growth prospects of U.S. businesses -- will debut next week in the September issue of Accounting Today, and here on AccountingToday.com.

The index is compiled from the monthly poll responses of Accounting Today's Executive Research Council, an elite community of more than one thousand thought leaders in the tax and accounting professions. Members of the ERC are asked each month to provide their estimates on the growth prospects of their practices, their business clients, and the U.S. economy overall. Their responses are weighted and averaged to produce the ACI.

"ADP works closely with hundreds of thousands of businesses, many of which are accounting and other professional service firms themselves," said Anish Rajparia, president of ADP's Small Business Services. "A common trait we have seen among successful companies is that many form strategic partnerships with trusted advisors to help gain a competitive advantage. ADP's research shows that accountants are singled out by small business owners as their 'most trusted advisors' and, as a result, have a finger on the pulse of business unlike other professionals.  This gives the ACI unique credibility and relevance among economic indicators," Rajparia added. 

In addition to partnering with Accounting Today to create the ACI, ADP will also sponsor the 2011 edition of Accounting Today's Best Accounting Firms to Work For, an annual ranking of the most employee-friendly accounting firms in the U.S.  The winning firms will be announced in the December issue of Accounting Today.  To complement this ranking, ADP will sponsor the Best Accounting Firms to Work For awards luncheon at Accounting Today's Growth & Profitability Conference in Las Vegas on October 26.

"We're excited to partner with ADP on the Accountants Confidence Index, the Executive Research Council and the Best Accounting Firms to Work For," said Rob Whitaker, publisher of Accounting Today. "Our respective organizations are dedicated to helping accounting firms grow revenues, deepen relationships with an expanded client base and increase profitability. Our partnership is a natural fit for us and the accounting profession," Whitaker added.

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