A better balance could have been achieved in your article "Accounting for Growth" (January), which we found to be slanted against smaller, quality certified public accounting firms.
Your report should have at least mentioned the Division for Firms of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA). Firms that join the Division agree to adhere to AICPA quality-control standards related to audits, reviews, and compilations of financial statements; submit to peer reviews every three years (the reports on which are available to the public); ensure that each professional staff person participates in at least 120 hours of continuing professional education every three years, and provide certain information about the firm to the Division each year, which is then available for public inspection. In addition, there are special requirements for firms with a Securities and Exchange Commission practice.
We believe that membership in the Division for Firms is evidence to bankers, lawyers, underwriters, and potential clients that a firm has made a commitment to the highest level of professional standards. The article's omission of the existence of the Division for CPA firms was clearly "stacking the deck" against quality regional and local firms that, in most cases, can provide at least the same level of service as a Big Eight firm. One should choose a firm based upon the quality of service it can provide and not merely upon its size.
The fact that almost 69% of the INC. 500 companies have gotten there without a Big Eight or Second Tier firm is evidence of the quality of regional and local firms.