THE RECESSION'S IMPACT ON CPA FIRMS

Wilmette, Ill. - A survey by consultancy Rosenberg Associates has turned up some surprising, and some not-so-surprising, information on the economic downturn's effect on accounting firms.

Forty managing partners from $5-to-$20-million firms across the country, surveyed in February, confirmed that "quite a few" of their clients were teetering on the verge of bankruptcy or have already shuttered. Virtually every firm was also experiencing increased receivables and slower collections, and 40 percent of firms were planning layoffs. Almost half the firms also said that they were scaling back M&A plans, and 61 percent planned to trim salary bumps.

Almost half of the firms also expected their tax season revenues to be flat or down from 2008 levels. But more than a quarter of the firms (28 percent) expected tax season to be either "normal" or even up 10 percent or more.

Most firms were still raising rates, with a third planning regular increases. Slightly more than a quarter of the firms expected to keep their rates unchanged.

Eighty-two percent of the firms surveyed said that they plan to take advantage of the glut on the talent market to upgrade their staff with experienced new hires, while 54 percent of the firms have stepped up their marketing.

MARYLAND CPAS CONNECT DURING FINANCIAL CRISIS

Towson, Md. - The Maryland Association of CPAs wants to send a message to its members that it's there to help them survive the turbulent economy.

The association's home page, www.macpa.org, highlights several programs to help members cope with the recession and position themselves to take advantage of the economic recovery. Offerings include 24 hours of free continuing professional education; a new online career center for job placement; an economic resource center with articles and studies; shared-service purchasing programs offering substantial discounts on office supplies, printing and other necessities; the Maryland Business and Accounting Expo on June 16-17; and promotion and protection of the CPA license through public relations and legislative programs.

"We felt it was important to emphasize to our members that their association is right there with them at a very challenging time," said MACPA CEO Tom Hood. "A few of these six programs are actually ongoing, but all are adapted or refined to address today's urgent financial and informational needs."

MACPA is also trying several innovative approaches using new social media tools to help deliver more value to its members. The association will be using Linden Lab's Second Life virtual environment to bring national thought leaders to members, and webcasting those programs to increase accessibility.

MACPA has also turned up its Web 2.0 and social media communications a notch, with daily blogs such as CPA Success and frequent messages on social networking sites such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

(c) 2009 Accounting Today and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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