Small Accounting Firms

Goals

To give a market analysis on small accounting firms (particularly those with fewer than 10 accountants) and to understand what software tools these small accounting firms use.

Early Findings

  • The PCPS/CPA.com National MAP Survey is the "profession’s largest benchmarking survey on practice management and is conducted every two years. Its purpose is to collect information on the financial results and practice management approaches of today’s CPA firms."
  • The smallest firms are categorized as those with a revenue of less than $200K.
  • "In the smallest firms with revenue of less than $200K, over two-thirds of firms experienced a positive growth rate."
  • The following are the available statistics on these small firms.

Small US CPA Firm Respondents (<$200 k Revenue)

  • Number of Participating Firms: 205
  • Total Number of Owners Represented: 218
  • Total CPAs in Firm: 216
  • Total Client Fees earned from all respondents: $21,738,179

Major Revenue Service Lines of Small CPA Firms:

  • Advisory/Consulting Services: 70%
  • Business Valuation: 5%
  • Client Accounting Advisory Services: 56%
  • Cybersecurity Assurance and Cybersecurity Consulting: 1%
  • Forensic Accounting and Litigation Support: 7%
  • Risk Services/Internal Auditing: 3%

Percentage of Fees Based on Billing Methods (<$200)

  • Value Pricing and Value Billing 50%
  • Hourly Based Billing 60%
  • Fixed Pricing 27%
  • Per Tax Form Fee 30%
  • Other 5%

Software and Technology Use

  • Small business firms have greater accessibility to lower-cost accounting software.
  • Cloud computing has increasingly been adopted in accounting, with QuickBooks Online, FreshBooks, Xero, and Kashoo being among the most commonly used accounting applications worldwide. According to a "Sage Practice of Now 2018" report, 67% of accountants prefer cloud accounting.
  • One survey found that "nearly half of US accountants would most like to automate number crunching, data entry, email, and diary management, followed by interaction with clients to process simple queries (18%)."
  • "When it comes to technology the majority of accountants in the US (65%) want to move at their own pace and say that technology is important but not their top priority. 67% report time and efficiency savings being important, with improving service quality (45%) and attracting new clients (36%) also topping their lists. "
  • "Cloud technology features on the radar of US accountants, with 40% already adopting a cloud-based practice. 58% believe cloud technology makes their role easier by enabling collaboration with clients and improving service offerings. "

Summary

  • For the initial hour, we tried identifying as much of the requested information as possible. We were able to identify insights from a 2018 PCPS National MAP Survey, which is the profession’s largest benchmarking survey. The survey is done by the American Institute of CPAs "(AICPA), the world’s largest member association representing the accounting profession". From this, we were able to identify some statistics from small CPA firms surveyed, however, an exact number of small accounting firms in the US did not appear immediately available. The survey indicated that the smallest firms have a revenue of less than $200K and also included insights on where most of their revenue comes from.
  • No information appeared available on how they acquire business, specific tools they use for finding customers, and no information appeared available on whether these firms had fewer than 10 accountants.
  • We were also able to find general insights on software tools used by accountants in the US. We found that QuickBooks Online, FreshBooks, Xero, and Kashoo were commonly used, but for this hour we were unable to immediately determine if these or other similar software tools were similar to Rapidly.
  • We recommend continuing the researc to create a competitive analysis of the identified tools to see if they share any similarities with Rapidly.
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