CPAs who are also senior financial executives expressed pessimism in the U.S. economy and expectations of continuing declines, according to a new survey by the American Institute of CPAs.

Pessimists outnumbered optimists for the first time since the AICPA began conducting the annual survey in 2005, and they did so by a five-to-one margin. A 59 percent majority of the 1,500 CPA respondents said they were pessimistic or very pessimistic about the outlook for the U.S. economy in the next 12 months, according to the survey, which was conducted by the AICPA and the University of North Carolina's Kenan-Flagler Business School.

The survey also found that only 11 percent of CPAs in executive positions expressed optimism about the economy. However, 46 percent of executive CPAs were optimistic or very optimistic about their own organization's prospects over the next 12 months, while 21 percent were pessimistic or very pessimistic.

A 57 percent majority believes the economic stimulus package passed by Congress was necessary to forestall a recession.

The AICPA also surveyed the senior-level CPAs about the Securities and Exchange Commission's decision to allow foreign companies to file financial statements in the U.S. in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards without reconciling them with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles, and 58 percent of them supported the move.

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