Women Lag Men in Accounting Jobs Recovery

New records set in hourly earnings.

By Beth Bellor

Across the tax and accounting industry, almost all the jobs relinquished by men in the Coronavirus layoffs have been regained by men. The jobs given up by women, on the other hand, are still largely vacant.

MORE ON JOBS: Comeback Stalls as Layoffs Hit 1,500 in Accounting | Tax & Accounting Regains 3,800 Jobs | Accounting Jobs Recovery Slows | Tax & Accounting Firms Rehire Two-Thirds of Pre-COVID Workforce | Tax & Accounting Firms Rehire Two-Thirds of Pre-COVID Workforce
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Overall, the tax, accounting, tax prep, payroll, and bookkeeping sectors employed 1.02 million full-time equivalents in March 2020, before 70,000 layoffs hit in April. So far, the industry has re-filled all but 17,600 positions.

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Survey: Full Recovery by Year-End?

Sage study finds nearly three-quarters of U.S. small and midsize businesses expect to see pre-pandemic revenue levels by end of the year.

Sage survey: Pandemic prompts innovation
Sage survey: Pandemic prompts innovation

By CPA Trendlines

U.S. businesses are becoming increasingly confident they will return to pre-pandemic revenue levels by the end of 2021, according to a new survey by Sage, a market leader in cloud business management software.

Nancy Harris, EVP and Managing Director, Sage North America
Harris

MORE SURVEYS & RESEARCH: Making Partner: What Managers Need to KnowWho’s Heating Up Accounting Tech?  |  Survey: Tax Season Swings into the Red  |  Peer-to-Peer: Your Best Advice for 2021  |  PPP Client Fraud: How Much Risk Is Too Much?  |  PPP Traps: 1 in 5 Accountants Report Shady Dealings  |  Clients Want to Pay You More (Really!)  |  Accounting Firms Take Billions in PPP Payouts  |  Members Only: The full CPA Trendlines list of 6,611 PPP borrowers in the tax and accounting industry

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“It’s no surprise the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately affected small and midsize businesses, along with their employees and customers. As we faced unique challenges at home and work, businesses saw great success implementing new programs, offering flexible work arrangements, and prioritizing commitment to the communities in which they operate,” says Nancy Harris, EVP and Managing Director, Sage North America. “As the world begins to reopen, it is critical that these key learnings from the last year are not lost, and that organizations continue to leverage creativity and technology to foster stronger relationships with employees, customers, and prospects for continued growth.”

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Will New Taxes Push You to Cash Out?

It might be time to implement Plan B.

By Domenick J. Esposito
8 Steps to Great

The new administration faces global uncertainties. Biden officials have set the stage for higher corporate and individual tax increases.

MORE from DOM ESPOSITO:  Keep Your Firm from Biting the Dust | The Six Ingredients for Firm Value | Four Ways to Add $100,000 in New Business Fees Every Year | Eight Steps to Small Firm Survival | No Partner Candidates? Whose Fault Is That? | Prune Your Firm: ‘Rightsize’ Managers and Partners | How Partners Fail | Ineffective Management Is Hazardous to Your Firm’s Health | Profitability Requires Discipline |

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At the same time, if your midsized CPA firm has not at least started to move away from a general “compliance shop” to either:

  • a specialized niche firm that has established a brand in the marketplace that transcends size and locations, or
  • a professional services firm that provides advisory/consulting, accounting, tax and assurance services to marquee clients in specialized industries,

its worth or valuation in the marketplace continues to diminish from the historical one times revenue payable upon individual partner retirements over 10 to 12 years.

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Trendwatch: New Revenues in Financial Stress Testing

COVID Pivot: Winning new high-value clients with: “Trust, but verify.”

By Anthony Glomski and Russ Alan Prince
Your $5-Million High-Net-Worth Practice
Now on sale: Buy Now | Learn More

For the extremely wealthy, financial stress testing is quite common. Just consider the following case.

MORE: Family Feud Isn’t Just a Game Show | Working with the Ultra-Wealthy | COVID-19 Brings High-Net-Worth Opportunities | Product-Neutral or Product-Inclusive? | Help Your Referral Sources Become Thought Leaders | What the Wealthy Want
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A super-rich individual (net worth = $500 million or more) asked us to examine a tax mitigation strategy he was using. He was quite proud of how ingenious it was and how well it worked. The complication was that some of his business dealings were under scrutiny, and he wanted to make sure his wealth planning would not cause any problems. As part of this tax strategy, he had done several things:
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Survey: Tax Season Swings into the Red

ON THE FRONT LINES (clockwise from top left): Hundshamer, Jones, Mills, Lopez-Williams, Mauro, Raboin, Newman, Behar

Efiilings lag by 5 million as practitioners call it a “nightmare.”

Surviving Busy Season 2021:
Join the survey. Get the results.

By Beth Bellor
CPA Trendlines Research

The IRS is narrowing the gap between this season and 2020, still behind in almost every area but with more deficits now in the single digits. That’s what passes for good news these days.

MORE: Another Tax Season from Hell? | Pros Process 44% of Tax E-filings | Tax Professionals Report Tough Slogging | Busy Season 2021 Gets Off to Weak StartGoProCPA.com
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Meanwhile, tax practitioners are reporting further deteriorations in their busy season, with 35 percent now terming is “much worse” than the year-ago, up about 11 points from the earlier soundings on the CPA Trendlines Busy Season Barometer. Join the survey. Get the results.

On March 17, the Treasury Department and IRS announced the 2020 individual federal income tax filing due date would be automatically extended from April 15 to May 17. Since then, some 25 states and localities – but not all – announced similar extensions.

BUSY SEASON RED SHIFT: The percentage of tax practitioners reporting a “much worse” season than last year grew 11 points to 35% from before March 15 to after March 15. (CPA Trendlines Busy Season Barometer)

As of March 19, the latest data available, the service had received 76.1 million individual income tax returns, down 9.6 percent from the same period last year, when the season began 18 days earlier. It had processed 67.7 million returns, down 16.6 percent, for a current processing rate of 89 percent.
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The IRS’s $3-Billion Problem

bar chart

 

92% of paper returns stuck in the backlog.

By CPA Trendlines Research

Tax preparers would be wise to advise their clients to e-file this year. According to the Government Accountability Office and the Taxpayer Advocate Service, the IRS is not keeping up with paper returns.

In fact, it seems to be barely trying.

MORE: Hunker Down: The IRS Backlog Isn’t Going Away Anytime Soon | The IRS Studebaker Bomb | Imagine IRS ‘Concierge’ Service. Just Imagine. | IRS Has Recruiting Problems, Too
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Chickenfeed

The COVID-19 pandemic is only part of the problem. Yes, of course, last year, with IRS offices shuttered and phones shut down for months, a backlog built up. By the end of the year, “IRS had a significant backlog of returns and taxpayer correspondence,” according to the GAO.
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Comeback Stalls as Layoffs Hit 1,500 in Accounting

CPA firms cut average staff pay.

“The Tax Season from Hell?”
Join the survey. Get the results

By Beth Bellor
CPA Trendlines Research

The accounting profession sector by sector generally looks slightly brighter, with most reporting headcount growth for the month – but losses for the year.

Exceptions include the profession overall, which is taking a 0.2 percent dip, tax preparation services up for the year 3.3 percent, and bookkeeping, up 1 percent.

MORE ON JOBS: Tax & Accounting Regains 3,800 Jobs | Accounting Jobs Recovery Slows | Tax & Accounting Firms Rehire Two-Thirds of Pre-COVID Workforce | Tax & Accounting Firms Rehire Two-Thirds of Pre-COVID Workforce | New Job Cuts at CPA Firms | COVID Job Toll: Tax & Accounting Cuts 17,500 Employees | Firms Recall Half of Furloughed Staffers
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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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IRS Has Recruiting Problems, Too

IRS budget cuts lead to staff cuts, even as returns climb.
IRS budget cuts lead to staff cuts, even as returns climb.

Theirs stem from money woes.

By CPA Trendlines Research

The IRS may a one-of-a-kind organization, with a unique mission, strengths, and weaknesses. But in at least one way, the IRS is a lot like many tax and accounting firms.

MORE on TAX SEASON: Team Expectations: A Checklist for Busy Season | You’re Not JUST Taxes | The Happier, Saner, Richer Tax Firm | SURVEY: A Glint of Optimism for 2021 | PPP Traps: 1 in 5 Accountants Report Shady Dealings

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The problems, of course, are many. But one rises above all the others:  Staff recruitment and retention.

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