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When your accountant talks, you need to listen. When a lot of accountants talk, you should listen carefully.

While these may not be words for business leaders to live by, they should resonate now. New Jersey, along with the rest of the nation, stands at an economic crossroads. The pandemic downturn is mostly a memory, but inflation is at an all-time high and the Federal Reserve is taking action to bring prices under control. Unfortunately, these measures could cause a recession, a possibility recently recognized by Fed Chairman Jerome Powell. Businesses still recovering from the COVID-induced crisis face new challenges that could worsen as monetary policy changes take hold.

So it seems appropriate to release the NJBIZ Accounting Power 50 at this time. Accountants will not only sort out the macroeconomic winds that are rocking their clients, but also the fiscal responses of governments at all levels.

We got a sense of what the profession collectively thinks about the near-term outlook from a recent survey conducted by the New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants and sponsored by Investors Bank. The organization received responses from 240 professionals and published the results in early June.

“Compared to a survey conducted around this time last year on the economic outlook, this year’s respondents were significantly more negative,” the NJCPA said. “Last year, more than 40% of respondents said they thought economic conditions in the United States would improve, and 35% thought the New Jersey economy would improve. This year, those figures were only 9 and 7%, respectively.

Respondents also said governments could help by tackling inflation, easing regulatory burdens and keeping corporate taxes low. None of this is surprising, but it will all require vigilance from business owners and managers. And their advisors.

Many of the best of these advisors are listed on the pages of this week’s issue. What they say and do will go a long way in determining how the state weathers the lingering economic crisis.

As always, the top 10 winners are listed in numerical order; the others are listed in alphabetical order. Take a look and by all means let us know what you think.