Covid Launches a New Reality: Now What?


^Click to play: Aquila addresses Covid crisis response strategies.

Eight new trends you can’t ignore in the new normal.

By August Aquila

Every day we get a clearer picture of what the future holds for the accounting profession, business in general and the overall population. While the future may look daunting, we will do our best to make the most of it and come out stronger. It’s what we have always done.

MORE: 6 Action Steps for a Smooth Retirement Transition | 7 Succession Planning Best Practices | Grissom and Aquila on Partner Performance Evaluations | Gross Profit in a Professional Services Firm: Opening a Dialogue | CHECKLIST: 18 Essential Steps to Effective Billing | How to Get Partners to Accept a New Pricing Philosophy
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Nevertheless, don’t plan on the old ways coming back. I just read that more than 60,000 accountants have already lost their jobs. Perhaps, the war for talent will be over. There will be further reductions in the professional service workforce and firms will be able to pick and choose from the talent pool.
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Covid Kills 67,600 Jobs in Tax and Accounting

Two years of steady gains wiped out in one month

Profession loses four years of job growth in the first month of the Coronavirus recession, reversing years of steady gains.

By Beth Bellor

Crushed by the Covid-19 pandemic, the tax and accounting profession has fallen below 1 million employees for the first time in two years – way below, and that may be just the tip of the iceberg, according to CPA Trendlines Research.

MORE on JOBS and HIRING TRENDS:  Planning for the Coronavirus Recession  |  Pre-COVID-19, Accounting Profession Hits New Highs  |  The Fight for New Tax Clients  |  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   |
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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

The data comes with a big asterisk.

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Feeling the Pain? The Biggest Job Losses by Client Sector

Jobs survey pinpoints client niches suffering the most under Covid. BONUS: Infographic.

CPA Trendlines Business Barometer:
How accountants are managing:

Join the survey. Get the results.

By CPA Trendlines Research

Private sector employment decreased by 20.2 million jobs from March to April according to the April ADP National Employment Report, and that doesn’t reflect the full impact of COVID-19.

A quick scan of the data shows the hardest hit client sectors, with the smallest businesses hit particularly hard.

More Staffing and Hiring Trends:  Planning for the Coronavirus Recession |  Automation and the Future of Accounting  |  Getting and Keeping the Best: The Struggle Continues |  Headcounts Dip by 3,500 in Tax & Accounting |  Creative Perks for Remote Employees |  What Staffing Shortage? |  Hiring Trends Flash Warning Signs of Slowdown in Tax & Accounting |  Salary Survey: Top Skills Getting Top Pay

See: All CPA Trendlines Special Coronavirus Crisis Coverage

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“Job losses of this scale are unprecedented. The total number of job losses for the month of April alone was more than double the total jobs lost during the Great Recession,” says Ahu Yildirmaz, co-head of the ADP Research Institute. “Additionally, it is important to note that the report is based on the total number of payroll records for employees who were active on a company’s payroll through the 12th of the month. This is the same time period the Bureau of Labor and Statistics uses for their survey.”

The Details by Company Size and Business Sector:

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Planning for the Coronavirus Recession

If past recessions are any guide, the profession could lose up to 100,000 jobs.

Busy Season Barometer:
Bracing for the Coronavirus recession

Join the survey. Get the facts.

By Beth Bellor

The tax and accounting profession was adding new jobs at a rate of 2.3 percent per year before the Coronavirus outbreak, according to CPA Trendlines Research.

See: All CPA Trendlines Special Coronavirus Crisis Coverage

More Staffing and Hiring Trends: Automation and the Future of Accounting  |  Getting and Keeping the Best: The Struggle Continues |  Headcounts Dip by 3,500 in Tax & Accounting |  Creative Perks for Remote Employees |  What Staffing Shortage? |  Hiring Trends Flash Warning Signs of Slowdown in Tax & Accounting |  Salary Survey: Top Skills Getting Top Pay

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But with a new recession looming, CPA Trendlines estimates the profession could lose up to 100,000 jobs and take up to seven years to recover.

The latest data available show more than a million employees in the profession, and growing at about 2,800 new jobs per month. At the same time, wages are hitting record highs.

But with the Coronavirus crisis threatening a new recession, CPA Trendlines conducted a long-term, 30-year analysis, focused on the job losses caused by the dot-com crash of 2001 and the financial meltdown of 2007. From the analysis, CPA Trendlines calculates the profession could shed up to 10 percent of its current workforce, and not fully recover for two to seven years.

All employees, thousands, accounting and bookkeeping services, seasonally adjusted
^ Showing dips after the dot-com bubble in 2001 and financial crash in 2008: All tax, accounting, and bookkeeping services, all employees, in thousands, seasonally adjusted. (CPA Trendlines Research)

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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3 Measures of the Effectiveness of Your Team

illustration with 3 thermometersThey work in harmony.

By Jody Grunden

Once you’ve systemized the processes for your accounting team, it’s important to evaluate the effectiveness of your process on a regular basis. You want to be aware of what’s working well and what’s not. You also want to continually be improving upon your services over time.

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There are three things you can specifically monitor when it comes to the effectiveness of your team, as shown in the illustration at right.
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Transferring Clients to a New Employee

Use your workflow software to guide training.

By Jody Grunden

When it comes to onboarding new employees, workflow management software can be extremely helpful in streamlining the process. In most cases, as we grow, new employees take over existing clients from other team members. They still need to meet with the other team members to discuss what’s needed for each client, but the workflow management software serves as their roadmap during that time.

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Although much of the process may be very similar from one client to the next, each client has its own individual needs. The roadmap is an important tool that guides new employees through the day-to-day workflow for each individual client.
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How to Evaluate Workflow Management Software

Don’t be afraid to use the full trial period to decide.

By Jody Grunden

When evaluating workflow management software, it is important to evaluate your priorities and know what you want out of the system. It is also important to understand that there isn’t going to be an exact fit.

MORE: How to Profit with Workflow Apps | Why Process Is Key to Remote Work | Innovate for the Right Reasons | Creative Perks for Remote Employees | 10 Interview Questions for Unlocking True Potential
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After comparing options, make sure that the system you go with meets the priorities at the top of your list. Once the system is picked, it is important to spend time inside the system to figure out how your company is going to use it.
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Pre-COVID-19, Accounting Profession Hits New Highs

We’ll be comparing apples to zebras for a while.

By Beth Bellor

What a difference a month makes. The accounting profession set several new records in the latest employment figures … but.

For our analysis on the COVID-19 impact on the profession, see Planning for the Coronavirus Recession

That “but,” of course, is the global pandemic. The numbers almost seemed dated as soon as they were released, because we know many of those gains quickly melted away.
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