Albany, N.Y. (Oct. 15, 2002) -- Despite the spate of accounting scandals that have given the profession a public black eye, small business owners have a generally positive opinion of the industry, a new survey has found.

The national survey, conducted by the Network of City Business Journals, found that 41 percent of the respondents said they had an "overall positive impression" of the accounting profession, while only 12 percent reported a negative one.

And accountants ranked above many other industries in favorable ratings, including the airline industry (37 percent positive), the telecommunications and credit-card industries (both 33 percent), as well as the legal industry (27 percent) and the health insurance industry (17 percent).

"Our research over the years has shown that small business owners rely on their outside accountant for ideas and advice, and see the accounting profession as highly responsible to the needs of smaller firms," said Bill Madway, vice president of research for the Network and director of the survey.

Who beat out the accountants? The computer industry got a 60 percent positive rating from small business owners, the banking industry ranked No. 2, with 50 percent of those polled saying they had a positive impression, and Internet service providers came in at No. 3, with a 45 percent positive ranking.

-- Electronic Accountant Newswire staff.

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