New Job Cuts at CPA Firms and No Recovery in Sight

Payroll remains the hardest-hit sector.

By Beth Bellor

After shedding 77,800 jobs in April, tax and accounting employers have added back 45,300 employees, but the total headcount has dipped again and remains down by 32,300 from the pre-COVID level, according to the latest data reviewed by CPA Trendlines.

MORE ON JOBS: COVID Job Toll: Tax & Accounting Cuts 17,500 Employees | Firms Recall Half of Furloughed Staffers | Covid Kills 67,600 Jobs in Tax and Accounting | Pre-COVID-19, Accounting Profession Hits New Highs | Planning for the Coronavirus Recession
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In this report, CPA Trendlines highlights:

  • Current and long-term 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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Why Small Firms Can Win the Talent Wars

Seven keys to beating the staffing shortage.https://cpatrendlines.com/2020/09/18/better-talent-drives-better-results/

By Frank Stitely
The Relentless CPA

The following story brought tears to my eyes while I sat in a Barbados resort drinking some alcohol concoction. Was it the alcohol talking or the happy ending where I got a profit distribution check? Maybe a little of both.

MORE: The Fool in the Room | Calculating and Cutting Turnaround Time | Debunking the Demise of the CPA Firm | How Many Tax Preparers Do You Need? | How to Teach Reviewing and Time Management | 3 Tips for Handling Rookie Tax Preparers | Some Uncommon Advice on Hiring Full-Time Staff | What Goes Into a Client Project?
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The afternoon before I left for beautiful Barbados, the partner group of our outsourced accounting practice met for a state of the practice meeting conducted by our director of outsourced accounting.
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The One Big Reason Your Hiring Sucks

Three partners, one male and two female, walking and smiling outside a buildingAnd three ways to fix it

By Ty Hendrickson

It’s said in the profession that employees must earn their place by proving their loyalty to the firm through years of experience.

MORE: 5 Crucial Areas of Firm Culture Not to Ignore | The CPA Firm Partner’s Role Is Changing | Are You Botching Your First Impression? | Maybe the Pandemic Isn’t All Bad | The No. 1 Reason Accountants Fail To Build Advisory Practices | The REAL Problems Created in a Remote Workforce | 4 Reasons to Welcome Rejection
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That might be one of the biggest lies in our industry right now and the No. 1 reason firms are facing recruiting and retention problems.

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5 Crucial Areas of Firm Culture Not to Ignore

Two businesswomen shaking handsTop talent is looking for true support.

By Ty Hendrickson

Firm culture. I recently saw an interesting post about culture on LinkedIn that got me thinking about this topic. Culture has become almost a buzzword in the accounting industry because firms are facing an incredibly competitive talent market combined with high expectations and long hours that come with this career choice. Firms are making a big deal out of building a culture that is a fun and balanced working environment in hopes of attracting and retaining the best talent, but unfortunately, the majority of firms are missing the mark.

MORE: The CPA Firm Partner’s Role Is Changing | Are You Botching Your First Impression? | Maybe the Pandemic Isn’t All Bad | The No. 1 Reason Accountants Fail To Build Advisory Practices | The REAL Problems Created in a Remote Workforce | Can You Really Grow Without Adding Clients? | 4 Reasons to Welcome Rejection
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Let me let you in on a little secret, which was the exact point of the LinkedIn post I mentioned. The most attractive cultures are not the firms that have team events and mixers and other “fun events.” Fun is not what the top talent is looking for in a firm culture. In all reality, a fun culture with events is going to attract the opposite of the top talent you desire as a firm.
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COVID Impact: 17,500 Tax & Accounting Jobs Lost

Tax and Accounting Headcount, Year-to_year Percentage Change. July 2020
In the red: Tax and accounting headcounts, year-to-year percentage change.

Cutbacks fall hardest at payroll agencies.

By Beth Bellor

Overall, the total number of employees in the tax and accounting sector is dropping again, but not nearly as dramatically as at payroll agencies.

MORE JOBS & HIRING TRENDS: Firms Recall Half of Furloughed Staffers  | Covid Kills 67,600 Jobs in Tax and Accounting | Pre-COVID-19, Accounting Profession Hits New Highs | Headcounts Dip by 3,500 in Tax & Accounting | Tax & Accounting Headcounts Hit Record High  | Hiring Growth Rate Shows Signs of Leveling Off | What Staffing Shortage? | Payroll Agencies Lead Jobs Growth in the Tax & Accounting Industry  | Hiring Trends Flash Warning Signs of Slowdown in Tax & Accounting | Hiring Surge Powered by Growth in Payroll Agencies |

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The payroll segment lost almost 15 percent of its jobs in the latest data collected by CPA Trendlines Research. In some consolation, though, those who are left are seeing record new earnings.

In this report, CPA Trendlines highlights:

  • Current and long-term 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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4 Reasons Not to Let Staff Go After Tax Season

Midsection of businessman moving out with cardboard box from officeWhat will you need to pick up when they’re gone?

By Ed Mendlowitz
The CPA Trendlines Practice Doctor

QUESTION: I am planning on letting go of some staff after tax season and will hire replacements at a higher level. Any suggestions?

MORE: Good Preparer Procedures Will Reduce Review Time | 10 Things NOT to Say During Tax Season | Top 12 Tax Return Errors | Why ‘Tick and Tie’ Needs to Die | Use Tax Return Prep for Training and Growth
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ANSWER: 1) Your implication is that you will hire replacements at a higher level.
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Firms Recall Half of Furloughed Staffers

Total tax and accounting employees, in thousands, over the last 18 months. (CPA Trendlines Research)

Just in time to finish tax season.

By Beth Bellor

Got whiplash? Job sectors that saw figures plummet in last month’s report are seeing them climbing back, albeit not as quickly.

MORE: The Mystery of 10 Million Missing Tax Returns | Pro Tax Prep Stalls to a Crawl amid Covid-Extended Season | Planning for the Coronavirus Recession | The Tax Season 2020 Dumpster Fire | |  Covid Kills 67,600 Jobs in Tax and Accounting  | Pre-COVID-19, Accounting Profession Hits New Highs

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The tax and accounting industry has quickly added back about half of the jobs lost in the COVID-19 shutdown – just in time to finish the hyper-extended tax season, according to the latest CPA Trendlines Jobs Report. But what happens next is anybody’s guess.

In this report, CPA Trendlines analyzes:

  • Current and long-term 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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Accounting Firms Take Billions in PPP Payouts

CPA firms grab the biggest slice of PPP loan payouts, accounting for 56% of the tax and accounting industry’s imperiled jobs. (CPA Trendlines Research)

Thousands of tax prep shops, bookkeeping companies, CPA firms, and payroll services take emergency loans, promising to save over 200,000 jobs.

By CPA Trendlines Research

Some 6,610 tax, accounting, payroll, and bookkeeping firms have so far received millions of dollars in Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program loans, potentially saving over 210,613 jobs, according to new data obtained by CPA Trendlines Research.

The CPA Trendlines full list of tax, bookkeeping, payroll and CPA firms is available to PRO Members here.

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The leading borrowers have all been CPA firms – each collecting $5 million to $10 million against a promise to save 10,298 jobs, more than half of the entire industry headcount threatened by the pandemic-fueled economic crash.

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