New York (Sept. 3, 2004) -- Many New York State employers are likely to ask for employee benefit givebacks in an attempt to contain costs, according to a poll of CPAs in New York State.


According to results of the New York State Society of CPAs Labor Day Poll, almost 60 percent of 420 CPAs who responded said that businesses are asking for employee contributions toward benefits. Almost 40 percent said that benefits would be reduced or eliminated. Those benefits included health insurance (90.3 percent), retirement plans (43.0 percent), dental coverage (40.6 percent), prescription coverage (39.5 percent), vision coverage (26.1 percent), life insurance coverage (12.7 percent) and automobile use (12.2 percent).


Close to 60 percent of respondents statewide have been CPAs for more than 20 years, with 70.8 percent practicing in public accounting firms and 23.5 percent working in private industry.

Among the 327 Metro New York CPAs responding -- representing the five boroughs of New York City, and Rockland, Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester Counties -- 59.6 percent agree that businesses are asking for employee givebacks on benefits. The vast majority of metro-area CPAs (90.6 percent) say health benefits are highest on the list of those to be reduced or eliminated.


Thirty-nine percent of metro-area CPAs rate business conditions in New York State as good, while slightly more (44.2 percent) rate business conditions in their particular area as good and 31.4 percent report businesses hiring more people.


While more than half of metro-area accountants (58.5 percent) feel that the increase in jobs will continue through the end of the year, 33.7 percent report staff lay-offs due to cost containment. Roughly 37 percent say that the pace of business expansion is improving, while 30.9 percent feel that the last quarter of this year will be robust for their business.


More than two-thirds of metro-area CPAs (69.7 percent) work in public accounting, while 24 percent work in private industry, according to the NYSSCPA.


-- WebCPA staff

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