CPA Poll Shows Employee Benefit Reductions Likely

Many New York state employers are likely to ask for employee benefit givebacks in an attempt to contain costs, according to a Labor Day Poll of CPAs in New York State.

The New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants (NYSSCPA) conducts the Labor Day Poll to address current business issues and concerns around the State. The CPA Poll is a random sampling of the association's 30,000 members.

According to the results, almost 60 percent of CPAs who responded said businesses are asking for employee contributions toward benefits. Almost 40 percent of CPAs said benefits would be reduced or eliminated.

Those benefits included health insurance (90.3%), retirement plan (43.0%), dental coverage (40.6%), prescription coverage (39.5%), vision coverage (26.1%), life insurance coverage (12.7%) and automobile use (12.2%).

"CPAs are able to see these types of labor issue trends before they happen as they have a pipeline to New York State businesses," says John Kearney, CPA, NYSSCPA President. "These results are significant as CPAs have a strong barometer of overall business sense from an organization's start to anticipated expansion."

Metro New York CPAs (59.6%), representing the Society's five boroughs and Rockland, Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester, agree that businesses are asking for employee givebacks on benefits. Health benefits, say 90.6% of Metro CPAs, are highest on the list of those to be reduced or eliminated.

Other survey results from Metro New York CPAs include:

  • 39% rate business conditions in New York State as good
  • 44.2% rate business conditions in their area as good
  • 31.4% report businesses hiring more people
  • 58.5% feel the increase in jobs will continue through the end of the year
  • 33.7% report staff lay offs due to cost containment
  • 41.7% include the aging of their business workforce in long-range planning
  • 45.9% include flexible time/job sharing in their business work schedule
  • 36.5% say the pace of business expansion is improving
  • 30.9% feel the last quarter of this year will be robust for their business
  • 62.3% report business travel has decreased
  • 46.4% regularly use alternatives to business travel such as teleconferencing/telecommuting
  • 34.7% expect foreign competition to increase during the next six months
  • 41.8% expect foreign competition to increase during the next two years
  • 30.7% agree that small businesses have had problems conforming with new regulations.

Barry Doll, CPA, President of the Society's Manhattan-Bronx Chapter says, "These statistics reflect changing business conditions in our geographic area. Businesses have to make many adjustments as the economy changes."

Metro New York CPAs (83.0%) say the economy will be the major issue impacting this year's Presidential election. CPAs (41.6%) agree projected interest rate increases by the Federal Reserve Board will slow business growth prospects.

Close to 60% of those participating have been CPAs for more than 20 years with 70.8% practicing in public accounting firms and 23.5% working in private industry.

The CPA Poll has a statistical confidence level of +/-4.8% at the 95% confidence level.

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