Wages hit new high; hourly rates at CPA firms up nearly 10 percent.
By CPA Trendlines Research
As the economy adds jobs, the accounting industry is grabbing its share and sometimes more, according to CPA Trendlines sources. At the same time, respondents to The CPA Trendlines Careers and Hiring Outlook tracking polls show nearly 60 percent ready to jump ship if the right offer comes along.
QUESTION: Do you recommend sending rejection letters to someone I interview and do not hire?
RESPONSE: Yes. Early on I did not send them, but when email came more universal, we sent them messages that way. Now we use postal mail and send the letter on our letterhead. We feel it is more courteous and respectful. The letter is similar to this:
QUESTION: I seem to be wasting a lot of time and can’t put my finger on it. I go home at night feeling I am more behind than when I started that morning and my chargeable time is dropping. What suggestions can you make?
ANSWER: Many professionals, not just CPAs are spending more and more time on non-business purpose activities. I don’t want to say nonessential because booking a flight or setting up a client meeting is essential, just that it is not what you are being paid for – it is not your business purpose. This person I spoke to, and many others in similar circumstances, need administrative assistance.
The U.S. tax, accounting and bookkeeping industries remain among the bright spots in the nation’s economy, as professional and business services make up nearly a third of the last month’s job gains, according to CPA Trendlines sources.
Here CPA Trendlines reports on:
Current hiring trends in each of the bookkeeping, tax, payroll and CPA segments of the industry.
Average hourly wages for key segments.
Typical hours worked per week.
Trends concerning women in the accounting workforce.
The CPA Trendlines annual Busy Season Barometer is eliciting a panoply of lessons learned and plans for a smoother season next year. A lot of professionals’ comments this year are nothing short of outright complaint. And not without reason. It’s been a rough year. If the snow didn’t get you, Forms 3115, 8962, 8965 or 1095a did. Plus all things IRS got more complicated, clients got more desperate and, apparently, tensions rose as CPAs and staff stretched themselves to the limits of professional endurance.
One of the main lessons learned is the need for enough staff — enough staff hired early enough and trained well enough. Nancy Casburn at Casburn CPA in Lee’s Summit, Mo., sums up the importance of the softest of software: “Staffing is the most important reason for failing or succeeding at tax season.”
If we can draw any conclusion from all the staff-related lessons reported in this year’s Busy Season Barometer, it is that the profession needs more staff, better trained staff and an availability of seasonal staff. Given the increasing complexity of tax returns, the solution of this problem — more training, more accounting majors — needs to arrive quickly and be broadly based.