NU Online News Service, June 24, 9:40 a.m. – In spite of recent upheavals in the industry, certified public accountants continue to be the most trusted advisors of small business owners, finds a survey by InterPay, a payroll company in Mansfield, Mass.

The survey found that 58% of small business owners trust their CPAs the most, followed by business friends, attorneys and bankers, in that order.

“CPAs are still controlling most of the movement of advice in the small business market,” says Curt Raffi, InterPay spokesman.

The survey found that 70% of small business owners believe it’s necessary to offer health care benefits in order to hire people.

But InterPay found a general dearth of insurance and benefits-related data reaching the small business field.

For instance, many small businesses are eligible to offer pretax flexible spending plans but are not aware of it, Raffi says. The survey found 70% do not offer pretaxed plans (Section 125 and flexible spending accounts).

“There’s a lot of insurance-related data not getting down to them,” Raffi says. “There are tax strategies and benefit-related offerings small businesses are not aware of. There’s a huge information-sharing need at that level.”

Asked about business conditions, 31% said that their business has increased 1% to 5% over last year.

InterPay developed the survey to analyze small business needs and trends while at the same time offering a forum to disseminate related data, the company says.