Comparing Winners and Losers in the Tax Business

Tax code changes emerge as prime cause of ‘worse’ tax seasons for many professionals.

z-tax metrics

By CPA Trendlines Research

A fresh analysis of the data from the 2015 CPA Trendlines Busy Season Survey turns up several worsening situations in American tax preparation.

Among those who report a “much worse” tax season, the worst-and-getting-worse cause of aggravation is the U.S. Tax Code and changes—especially mid-season changes—to the tax code.

But the worst among all respondents is their clientele, or more specifically, clients who are late or unprepared. A staggering 49% of respondents report client problems, a 7% increase over last year. And the percent is nearly the same for those who report a much worse season—51%—and those who had a “much better” season, 45%.


NEW POLL: The Tech Habits of Highly Successful Accountants

Join the survey. Get the results. Early results from the new 2015 CPA Trendlines Technology Trends Survey are already suggesting some tantalizing clues to today’s pressing questions on: Competitive factors in growth, profitability, and salaries, Best practices in operations and productivity, and Technology … Continued

Accountants Worldwide Report Business Challenges

Chart about nations' business risk aversion

Everyone wants their government to get out of the way.

While U.S. accountants certainly rank high in entrepreneurial spirit, with 49 percent calling themselves risk-seeking in the Sage Accounting Index, they were tied by Brazil and edged out slightly by their Canadian counterparts at 50 percent, with the Spanish topping everyone at 58 percent. The four countries also ranked lowest in risk aversion from 27 to 31 percent.


Single-Owner Firms Trail Bigger Competitors in Tax Prep

z_tax tougher year for sllos vs othersAnalysis shows smaller firms having the most trouble.

CPA Trendlines Research

CPA Trendlines’ surveys reveal a panoply of gripes from sea to shining sea about tax season: Affordable Care Act. New regulations. Computers. Clients. Even health problems and weather problems can seem worse.

And who are suffering the most? Solo practitioners, the ones with the gumption to go it alone, the ones who can’t stop working on tax returns to fix a computer, go to a doctor, shovel some snow, or explain federal forms to a client.

Then again, there’s John Briggs, president of Incite Tax, a small but growing firm in Sandy, Utah, reporting a 2015 season of glee. “Referrals keep pouring in. We took on 92 new clients just during the tax season. Add that to 81 new clients we added between last busy season and January 2015, and we have a total of 173 new clients. Regulatory issues lead to opportunities.”


Tax Preparation Fees and Services

Screen Shot 2015-06-09 at 9.19.17 PMThe National Trends and Averages

By CPA Trendlines Research

While tax professionals taking a well-deserved break this summer, they are also carefully assessing how well – or poorly – they fared in Tax Season 2015 and they are beginning to lay plans for Tax Season 2016. Chief among their concerns will, no doubt, be a thorough review of their mix of services and fees.

Fortunately, CPA Trendlines has compiled authoritative data in an easy-to-use set of charts, graphs and infographics to guide the strategizing for 2016.

In this report, CPA Trendlines reveals:

  • The average time it takes an amateur do-it-yourselfer to do a 1040 – useful information in understanding and communicating to clients the true value of a professional.
  • How many tax professionals give away over $100 per client in free consultations – and how competitive the market may be for practitioners.
  • Prices by type of form: Itemized 1040; State; Schedule C’s; 940s; 1065s; 1120Ss.
  • Prices by region: West, Midwest, Northeast and South.
  • How many preparers charge to file an extension and how much they charge.
  • Trends in 1040 business.
  • Practitioners’ age ranges and years in business.
  • The characteristics of the communities in which they operate.


CPA Firms Paying Top Dollar for Talent in Nationwide Hiring Binge

Pay raises trending
Pay raises trending

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 sourcesAt 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.

Join the survey. Get the results.

In this report, CPA Trendlines covers:

  • Current hiring trends in each of the bookkeeping, tax, payroll and CPA segments of the industry, indicating growth and shrinkage among sectors.
  • Average hourly wages for key segments, with trends in employee pay rates.
  • Typical hours worked per week, showing utilization and productivity.
  • Trends concerning women in the workforce, including hiring rates.

It’s not all about the money.

Higher wages aren’t everything, as clearly indicated in The CPA Trendlines Careers and Hiring Outlook tracking polls. READ MORE →

SURVEY RESULTS: Deal-Savvy CPAs Look to Lenovo Computers

Lenovo challenges Dell and HP’s dominance with competitive pricing on desktops.

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 5.24.47 PM
Primary desktop computer, most recently purchased, accounting firms of all sizes. Learn more.
The Accounting Firm Operations and Technology Survey

By CPA Trendlines Research
Accounting Firm Operations and Technology Survey

Attracted by competitive pricing, accountants are increasingly turning to Lenovo as their primary desktop computer and challenging the dominant positions of Dell and Hewlett-Packard, according to new survey results available from CPA Trendlines.

To be sure, the Accounting Firm Operations and Technology Survey shows Lenovo still dwarfed by Dell and HP. But Dell’s position is hardly changing, HP’s appears to be declining and Lenovo is coming on strong, almost doubling its share of the profession. READ MORE →

The Tech Risks Accountants Would Rather Ignore

computer infectionNew study reveals widespread weaknesses in accounting firm technology strategies.

By Rick Telberg
CPA Trendlines Research

Accountants aren’t known for their risky decisions. Quite the opposite, in fact. In most things, accountants are paragons of caution and care.

That’s, “in most things.”

But as the “Accounting Firm Operations and Technology Survey,” published by CPA Trendlines, shows again and again, accountants are taking sometimes potentially disastrous risks with their firms and – worse – with their clients. READ MORE →

Workflow Automation Takes Root in Mainstream CPA Firms

Roman Kepczyk , author of Quantum of Paperless at
Roman Kepczyk, Quantum of Paperless

Tax season 2015 sees 59% of firms using digital production systems.

By CPA Trendlines Research

The tax and accounting profession appears to have made a quantum leap with Busy Season 2015, by broadly embracing workflow automation to optimize production, control costs and speed delivery, according to data made available to CPA Trendlines.

The Association for Accounting Administration, in a study led by CPA Trendlines contributor Roman Kepczyk, author of Quantum of Paperless: The Partners Guide to Accounting Firm Optimization, finds that in the general movement toward paperless, or at least less paper, firms are increasing their use of technology to save more trees than ever. The survey compared findings in 2013 with what firms expected to do in the 2015 busy season.

A big innovation for many firms has been the use of digital workflow tools to manage tax return progress. Fifty-nine percent of firms reporting using a variety of products. Specifically, by brand: READ MORE →