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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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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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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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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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

READ MORE →

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 →