Headcounts Dip by 3,500 in Tax & Accounting

Hourly earnings hit new high.

By Beth Bellor

CPA firms and payroll agencies are trimming their headcounts going into Busy Season 2020, according to new data obtained by CPA Trendlines Research

In this report, CPA Trendlines highlights:

  • Current hiring trends in each of the bookkeeping, payroll, tax and CPA segments of the industry (all data seasonally adjusted)
  • Average hourly wages for key segments
  • Typical hours worked per week
  • Trends concerning women in the accounting workforce

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Slow Start for Tax Pro E-filing

Data chartTax pro market share down 409,000 from year-ago.

By Beth Bellor

As of the week ending Feb. 7, the latest data available, the Internal Revenue Service had received 28.7 million individual income tax returns, down 0.4 percent from the same week last year. It had processed 27.5 million, down 2.1 percent.

MORE: Data Points Down as Tax Season Opens | The Fight for New Tax Clients
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The IRS had processed 96.1 percent of returns received.

E-filing receipts READ MORE →

Data Points Down as Tax Season Opens

Data chartDIYs, refunds are up.

The CPA Trendlines Busy Season Barometer: New year, new strategies?
Join the survey. Get the results.

By Beth Bellor

Filings were behind last year's marks as tax season opened, according to the IRS, and pros handled about 35 percent of e-filings.

MORE: The Fight for New Tax Clients | 5 Tax Review Keys | Treat Review Procedures Like Quality Control |  SURVEY RESULTS: Tax Pros Forecast a Better 2020 |  Can the IRS Enforce the Tax Code? |  Tax Pro’s Upbeat on Cusp of Busy Season |  Use Tax Return Prep for Training and Growth |  IRS Undertakes Overhaul  | All 2020 Tax Season Coverage
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The Internal Revenue Service received 15.8 million individual income tax returns for the week ending Jan. 31 – the first of the season and just five days long – down by 1.6 percent from the year before. It had processed 12.9 million returns, down 2.7 percent, for a processing rate of 82 percent.
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The Fight for New Tax Clients

Bar chart
By CPA Trendlines Research

And will refunds reverse their downward trend?

The CPA Trendlines Busy Season Barometer: New year, new strategies?
Join the survey. Get the results.

By Beth Bellor

The IRS is about to roll out its first filing statistics of 2020, but before it does, let's recap 2019.

MORE ON TAX SEASON: Pros Improving Performance | Can the IRS Enforce the Tax Code? | Tax Pros Upbeat on Cusp of Busy Season | IRS Undertakes Overhaul
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First, the market share: How many individual income tax returns were filed, and how many of those were touched by accountants?
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Tax & Accounting Headcounts Hit Record High

Records set in several segments.

By Beth Bellor

With year-end employment figures in, it remains a great time to be an accountant.
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By the Numbers

In this report, CPA Trendlines highlights:

  • Current hiring trends in each of the bookkeeping, payroll, tax and CPA segments of the industry (all data seasonally adjusted)
  • Average hourly wages for key segments
  • Typical hours worked per week
  • Trends concerning women in the accounting workforce

READ MORE →

Hiring Growth Rate Shows Signs of Leveling Off

Still healthy, but not as good as last year.

Who's hiring, who's not.
Who's quitting, who's staying.
And why and why not.
Join the survey. Get the facts.

By Beth Bellor

"Stay the course." Remember that chestnut?

MORE ON JOBS: What Staffing Shortage? | Payroll Agencies Lead Jobs Growth in the Tax & Accounting Industry | Hiring Trends: Accounting Hits 4.2% Expansion Rate | Hiring Trends Flash Warning Signs of Slowdown in Tax & Accounting | CHARTS: Tax & Accounting Among Biggest Jobs Creators in U.S. | Hiring Surge Powered by Growth in Payroll Agencies
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Maybe it's not time to rock the boat. The accounting profession is more than holding its own, with new highs seen in:

  • overall earnings,
  • staff earnings,
  • CPA firm staff numbers and earnings, and
  • payroll services earnings.

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What Staffing Shortage?

Demand for new hires shows signs of weakening.

By Beth Bellor

High-quality tax, accounting, and finance talent remain in high demand, with about 33% of companies reporting open positions, according to a new study that also forecasts strong hiring demand over the next 12 months.

MORE ON JOBS: Payroll Agencies Lead Jobs Growth in the Tax & Accounting Industry | Hiring Trends: Accounting Hits 4.2% Expansion Rate | Hiring Surge Powered by Growth in Payroll Agencies | Tax Shops Cut 6,200 Jobs | Salary Survey: Top Skills Getting Top Pay
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“More than one-third of the human resources professionals and hiring managers who participated in the Q4 2019 hiring forecast survey reported unfilled jobs in accounting and finance," according to Sagar Pandya, CPA, VP of operations at Brilliant. "This number is lower than last quarter and lower than any other quarter in the past year.”
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Payroll Agencies Lead Jobs Growth in the Tax & Accounting Industry

Join the survey. Get the Results

"The opportunities for CPA firms only increase."

Get more from the "Talent, Career, and Growth Strategies: Job Satisfaction and Hiring Trends Tracking Poll" 
Join the survey. Get the results.

By Beth Bellor

"It’s a good time to be a CPA," says Brian Esko, and – with some notable exceptions – it's hard to disagree.

The managing director and executive recruiter at Parker & Lynch and Ajilon Search points to an unemployment rate of roughly 1.5 percent for accounting, almost 300,000 new jobs created over the last 12 months and wages rising at roughly 3 percent annually.

MORE ON JOBS: Hiring Trends: Accounting Hits 4.2% Expansion Rate | Hiring Trends Flash Warning Signs of Slowdown in Tax & Accounting | CHARTS: Tax & Accounting Among Biggest Jobs Creators in U.S.
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Esko

"For a CPA, there are more opportunities than ever in the market and companies are doing a better job of rewarding and retaining their people through compensation increases and internal growth opportunities," Esko says.

In this report, CPA Trendlines highlights:

  • Current hiring trends in each of the bookkeeping, payroll, tax and CPA segments of the industry (all data seasonally adjusted)
  • Average hourly wages for key segments
  • Typical hours worked per week
  • Trends concerning women in the accounting workforce

READ MORE →

Hiring Trends: Accounting Hits 4.2% Expansion Rate

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Payroll services, women continue to do well.

Get more from the "Talent, Career, and Growth Strategies: Job Satisfaction and Hiring Trends Tracking Poll:" Join the survey. Get the results.

By Beth Bellor

Slow but steady growth is the trend for most of the accounting profession, according to the latest research from CPA Trendlines.

MORE ON JOBS: Hiring Trends Flash Warning Signs of Slowdown in Tax & Accounting | CHARTS: Tax & Accounting Among Biggest Jobs Creators in U.S.
GoProCPA.comExclusively for PRO Members. Log in here or upgrade to PRO today.

In this report, CPA Trendlines highlights:

  • Current hiring trends in each of the bookkeeping, payroll, tax and CPA segments of the industry (all data seasonally adjusted)
  • Average hourly wages for key segments
  • Typical hours worked per week
  • Trends concerning women in the accounting workforce

READ MORE →

Hiring Trends Flash Warning Signs of Slowdown in Tax & Accounting

CPA firm staffing and wage growth signal weakness.

By Beth Bellor

Not only are several sectors in the tax and accounting industry charting new records in employee numbers, but wages often are up as well, according to new CPA Trendlines research.

MORE ON JOBS: CHARTS: Tax & Accounting Among Biggest Jobs Creators in U.S.
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But key indexes are flashing signs of a decelerating expansion, possibly augering a slowdown, or even cutbacks, in the months to come.

In this report, CPA Trendlines highlights:

  • Current hiring trends in each of the bookkeeping, payroll, tax and CPA segments of the industry (all data seasonally adjusted)
  • Average hourly wages for key segments
  • Typical hours worked per week
  • Trends concerning women in the accounting workforce

READ MORE →

Tax Pro eFilings Down for 2019, IRS Reports in Final Tally

Data chart

Taxpayers' average refund cut by 2.7%.

By Beth Bellor

As most Americans' tax filing deadline came and went, the number of refunds was up but the average amount was down.

MORE: Tax Filings: Everything Up but Refunds | What’s the Real Impact of IRS Audits? | Why Shouldn’t All Tax Practitioners Need Licenses? | Fixing the Tax System: Accountants Sound Off | Hello, IRS? Anybody Home? | Tax Season 2019 Serves Up a Taste of the Future | The Demise of Schedule A? | Tax Refunds Up 1.7%
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The IRS had received137.2 million individual income tax returns as of the week ending April 19, the latest data available. It had processed 130.8 million returns; both figures were up by 0.2 percent from the same period in 2018.
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Hiring Surge Powered by Growth in Payroll Agencies

Join the survey; get the results

Tax & accounting industry adds 40,500 new jobs to hit new record.

CPA Trendlines Jobs Report
Who's hiring, who's not, and why?
Who quitting for a new job & when?
Join the survey; get the results

By Beth Bellor

Payroll is proving to a bright spot and women are making some impressive gains in our look at employment in the accounting profession. The latest CPA Trendlines Jobs Report also finds that tax preparation services employment spiked in March, even when seasonally adjusted.

MORE ON JOBS: Tax Shops Bulk Up for Big Busy Season | Jobs Report: 43,000 New Hires | Tax Shops Cut 6,200 Jobs | Tax Shops Cut Staff by 10% | Benefits, Perks, and Incentives: The Happy-Packs of Employee Satisfaction | Salary Survey: Top Skills Getting Top Pay

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In this report, CPA Trendlines highlights:

  • Current hiring trends in each of the bookkeeping, payroll, tax and CPA segments of the industry (all data seasonally adjusted)
  • Average hourly wages for key segments
  • Typical hours worked per week
  • Trends concerning women in the accounting workforce

Typically, one respondent tells the CPA Trendlines Jobs Report said she's "Not actively looking" for a new job, "but maybe I could be persuaded." The reason: "Not comfortable with direction firm is taking."

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Tax Filings: Everything Up but Refunds

Data chartPros handled 57% of e-filings.

By Beth Bellor

With only three days left in the tax season, things finally were looking up.

MORE: What’s the Real Impact of IRS Audits? | E-Filing Pace Quickens Toward Finish | Salary Survey Shows Pay for Tax Professionals | 2 Ways the EITC Error Rate Is High | Tax Pro E-Filing Off 2.7% from Last Year’s Pace | Tax Season 2019 Serves Up a Taste of the Future | The Demise of Schedule A?
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All the figures were positive ... except the one of most interest to many taxpayers. Refunds not only were in the red, but on every point by larger percentages than last week. The picture was slightly better for direct deposit refunds, but even there, average refunds dropped.
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