Boston (July 8, 2003) -- Despite predictions that the new accounting laws and other factors will prompt many firms to consider mergers, 68 percent of marketing directors and partners at 50 accounting firms said no merger activity is planned over the next year. But activity behind the scenes to grab business in the wake of the new accounting laws is brisk.

The survey, conducted at the Association for Accounting Marketing conference last month by marketing consultant Jean Caragher, also discovered that 48 percent of the firms surveyed still audit publicly held companies and that 39 percent plan to "proactively grow this niche" while none of the respondents said they plan to completely eliminate public company audits.

Interestingly, 30 percent of firms that do not audit publicly held companies said they planned to aggressively market services that public company auditors are prohibited from providing due to conflict of interest.

Spreading the news of Sarbanes-Oxley's implications for clients hasn't been a priority for 44 percent of the respondents, who say they have not contacted their clients about the law, although 52 percent said they have.

Marketing directors and partners representing 50 accounting and consulting firms in the U.S. and Canada completed the survey. Fifty-six percent of the respondents hailed from regional firms, 40 percent were from local firms, and 4 percent from national firms.

--WebCPA staff

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