Albany, N.Y. (Nov. 24, 2003) -- Despite massive reform efforts such as Sarbanes-Oxley, corporate executives remain dissatisfied with the work product provided by their respective accounting, legal, IT and other consultants.

As a result, roughly one in nine professional services or consulting relationships could be terminated in the next 12 months.

The survey, conducted during the spring and summer of 2003 by Albany-based business analysis firm Ross McManus, of more than 1,200 Fortune 1,000 senior executives from over 20 percent of the firms in the Fortune 1000, indicated that consultants and professional service providers rate only a "C+" grade from their clients for overall satisfaction.

Many long-standing consulting relationships would soon be put up for review, according to the survey.

These concerns, according to the survey, may have been long-simmering among corporate clients, but the post-Enron regulatory and governance climate has created a catalyst for companies to re-evaluate even longstanding relationships with their consultants.

Highlights of the findings include:

• One in nine executives deemed relationships with their professional services providers and consultants as "significantly deteriorating," possibly leading to termination within the next 12 months.

• Senior executives rate overall satisfaction with their professional services providers and consultants as only a C+, or 7.8 points on a 10-point scale.

• Some 96 percent of senior executives say that understanding their business is their most important satisfaction characteristic, however only 72 percent said they were satisfied that their professional services providers and consultants had a good understanding of their businesses.

• Only 65 percent of C-Level executives care about the technology used by their providers; suggesting an overemphasis by firms on the technology they use to complete an assignment.

-- WebCPA staff

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