Columbus, Ohio (June 19, 2003) -- The majority of small business owners can’t accurately answer basic questions about their retirement plan responsibilities and it may be up to CPAs to educate them, a recent Nationwide Financial survey shows.

The survey, Financial Advice Today: A Small Business Perspective, found that small business owners may be mistakenly confident about retirement planning, as many report critical lapses in their knowledge of legal duties and obligations.

The survey also shows CPAs are the preferred advisor to small business owners in general, as 75 percent said they turn to CPAs as a primary source of business or personal advice more often than other financial professionals. Also, 69 percent of surveyed small business owners choose CPAs to consult specifically about their business’ future.

Additional findings detail the serious lack of knowledge small business owners have about retirement planning. The top concerns were as follows:

  • A large percentage incorrectly identified the plan investment provider, the financial advisor, and even employees as having primary fiduciary responsibility
  • 61 percent of those with 401(k) plans reported they have an investment policy statement in place, but less than that reported having a formal process to evaluate investment selections on a regular basis
  • More than one-third of those surveyed consider it acceptable for a plan provider to require its funds be among a plan’s investment options
  • 63 percent of small business owners are not very certain they’ve appropriately planned for their business’ future.

Oradell, N.J.-based market research firm TechnoMetrica conducted the survey. It polled 501 owners/operators in a broad range of businesses that had a maximum of 50 employees, were at least two-years-old, and produced more than $100,000 in revenue.-- WebCPA staff

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