Feeling both the economic pinch and the squeeze of Sarbanes-Oxley, the American Institute of CPAs confirmed Monday that it has eliminated 22 positions, or about 3.5 percent of its workforce.
Insiders at the Institute put the figure at closer to 40, as detailed in an internal staff-email, but the AICPA disputed that information.
“There was a reduction in force across the Institute,” said AICPA spokesman Geoff Pickard. “We're feeling the same pressures as corporate America and we're trying to adjust to what life is going to be like post Sarbanes-Oxley.
Pickard said some of the cuts involved senior level staff, but would not reveal names, departments or programs. Staff in New Jersey, Washington and at AICPA headquarters in Manhattan were among those who got the ax. Sources said at least three people let go worked at CPA2Biz.
Pickard said the layoffs became necessary after the organization looked at all other ways to reduce costs. “The whole senior team met a number of times over the last six months to look at how we could pare back against the new world we're living in,” he added, saying he couldn't reveal the cost savings of the layoffs and other cutbacks. “The last thing we wanted to do was affect people directly.” He added that no other layoffs were imminent or foreseen in the near future.
Other cost-cutting measures the AICPA has or will put into place shortly include reducing travel expenses, moving to an electronic version of the CPA Letter, and a reduction or slowing down in certain unnamed program areas.
One person who was let go had been with the Institute for many years, and was given no warning about the impending cuts.
“Was I surprised? Yeah,” said the AICPA veteran, who was notified last Friday.
Pickard said the belt-tightening will not mean the elimination of council meetings, but said the organization is instilling an austerity mentality in its staff. “We're going to ask people to consider having a conference call as opposed to getting on planes and going somewhere,” he said.