Rising health care costs, workforce development, regulation and standards overload topped the list of the most pressing issues facing CPAs in business and industry, according to a survey conducted recently by the Maryland Association of CPAs.
The impact of the recession also showed up as access to credit, capital spending cuts and layoffs made the list this time. Earlier this week, members of our Business & Industry Committee (B&I) and participants of the survey met to discuss what members needed to navigate these turbulent times.
What were the top needs?
- Targeted communication to members in business and industry. One insight was that business and industry CPAs wear a lot of hats (IT, HR, operations, finance, etc.), in addition to financial reporting. Therefore, they need a lot of broad and diverse information.
- Networking -- small-group networking was a top request. This is already in the works at the MACPA with a pilot in the capital area in the next month.
- More CPE on recession and B&I topics. Our B&I Conference in May and the MD Biz Expo on June 16-17 will be chock full of recession and specific B&I topics. Our Business Learning Institute also has a lot of the programs that were identified on the survey.
- Legislative / regulatory advocacy for our B&I members. We discussed major success in delaying FIN 48 and Maryland corporate reporting amendments and defeating sales tax on services. Members agreed we are doing this well but want more communication. We pointed them to our Legislative Insider blog.
- Career development / job search. They also wanted more career resources, and we are close to rolling out a new career service for members.
Overall, they gave us high ranks for meeting their needs and we learned that we need to communicate better about the issues they care about the most.
CPAs in business and industry represent half of the MACPA's membership, serving the region's companies as CFOs, controllers, CEOs, COOs, internal auditors, HR and IT executives and staff accountants. They are being called on to cut costs, budget in uncertainty, analyze business units, evaluate mergers and acquisitions, find credit, and work with banks and binding companies, in addition to keeping the financial records and producing accurate financial reports. Did we mention manage risks and internal controls?
There was a sense that "we are all in this together" as the group discussed the survey and their own situations. There was no hand-wringing about the recession, only a "can-do" attitude and a sense of, "Let's get to work!" The group concluded that one of the biggest benefits of their membership was the ability to simply be together with other business and industry members and have these types of conversations.
Look for action on this report from the MACPA, and thanks to all of the business and industry members who volunteered their time and talents to help us serve you better.
Tell us what you think, post a comment and speak out. Are we on the right track?
Resources for business and industry:
- In search for savings, companies zero in on health care.
- Economy resource center, a special page on the economy from the MACPA.
- The "Economy" category on this blog: Selecting this category at the left will give you all of the latest articles and research by our blogging team.
- Our special MACPA Resource Center for business and industry CPAs (members only).
Our two biggest events for business and industry members:
- Business and Industry Conference, May 15
- Maryland Business and Accounting Expo, June 16-17
Other helpful resources:
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