Rosemont, Ill. (Aug. 28, 2002) -- "We'll get out of these challenging economic times together, not alone." That was the message from Gerald Roper, Chicago Chamber of Congress chief executive, to accountants here at the 22nd Annual Illinois CPA Society Business & Technology Solutions Show.

Discussing the challenges facing businesses amid a tough economic outlook, Roper noted, "You're all CPAs or work closely with CPAs -- you all know something about challenging times." The annual conference drew roughly 200 exhibitors and 2,500 attendees, with another 1,500 expected to register on site, according to ICPAS staff.

"Who would have believed a year ago that this would happen?" Roper said, referring to the demise of the once mighty Andersen, based in Chicago. "Now that accountants are under such scrutiny, your brand as an industry is being challenged."

"The changes and challenges to the accounting and finance profession are going to be many," Roper added. "Meeting analysts' estimates used to be a badge of honor. Now analysts' approval raises questions."

Commenting on the Sarbanes-Oxley Act provision that requires corporate officers to certify their financial statements, Roper remarked, "I don't think Congressional leaders understand the impact this will have. Where do you find people to serve on audit committees and boards?"

-- Melissa Klein

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