Based on a new survey conducted by the Illinois CPA Society, 75 percent of more than 2,000 business executives have no objection to CPAs and lawyers working together as partners.
Moreover, 85 percent said that they would not sever their relationship with a CPA who partnered with someone they did not know.
Known widely as the Multidisciplinary Practice, the combination of CPAs and lawyers has received opposition from both professions, although proponents say that clients enjoy the ability to find one practice that would fully serve both accounting and legal needs.
Survey participants noted the advantages of multidisciplinary practices would include the ability to use accounting and legal resources in shared practice areas such as mergers/acquisitions/sales, family business succession planning, business organization/formation, employee benefits/compensation, and e-commerce. Other advantages mentioned were better advice and cost efficiencies.
Disadvantages noted in the survey results included conflicts of interest, confidentiality, uncertainty of uniform quality, conflicting advice, and loss of objectivity. Nearly half of survey respondents indicated that these disadvantages might be sufficient to cause them to change their service provider.
Other organizations participating in the survey included the Legal Marketing Association and Martindale-Hubbell. The state society has provided additional reading on the subject of multidisciplinary practices.