Aug 19th 2011
The Rosenberg Survey team is pleased to announce that results are in for the 2011 MAP Survey. Overall, the survey reveals a trend that many firms are reinvesting in the future. Firms are spending the extra time and money in marketing and business development. In addition, many are considering, or are in the process of, mergers and acquisitions, as partners near retirement age.
Revenue rose 1.7 percent in 2010, a slight improvement from the 1.4 percent increase in 2009. When the impact of mergers is taken out, the growth rate was only 0.8 percent. Though the revenue increase is small, it's noteworthy, because for the first time in two years, the growth rate increased from the prior year instead of decreasing. You might say that the "bleeding has stopped." Revenues were up for firms in all size ranges, though firms with annual fees in excess of $20 million experienced a 4.6 percent higher growth rate than smaller firms.
Profits, as measured by income per partner, averaged $360,000 compared to $354,000 in 2009. Faced with flat growth, firms did a good job of lowering salary expense, which previously had been virtually a fixed cost, and of reducing overhead spending. These tactics enabled firms to enjoy a modest improvement in profits despite the continuance of the recession.
Projections for 2011 show a significant improvement over 2010. Overall, firms are projecting a 3.5 percent growth rate, the highest since 2008.
The percentage of partners over age fifty broke the 60 percent barrier for the first time ever, finishing at 61 percent. This figure has been rising year by year as baby boomers inch closer to retirement age. "Firms continue to grapple with the succession issue," said Charles Hylan, CPA, and member of the Rosenberg Survey team. "They're looking at their younger partners and realizing they don't have the leadership to take the firm into the next generation . . . hence all the acquisitions."
Marketing expenses as a percentage of fees in 2010 ranged from 1.7-2.1 percent, virtually unchanged from 2009. This is inconsistent with the observation from CPA firms and consultants alike, that marketing and practice development are being focused on like never before in an effort to combat the sluggish economy. "We’ve received a tremendous number of calls from firms needing help with their marketing efforts," said Hylan.
The Rosenberg MAP survey, now in its thirteenth year, reports on the results of 408 firms, most of which range from $2–20 million in annual fees. Nearly one hundred CPA firm metrics are measured.
"We're passionate about our commitment to making our survey the most accurate and authoritative national survey of CPA firm statistics in the profession. Every year, 30-40 percent of the data we receive contains gross errors," said Rosenberg. "Our survey team of three CPAs reviews the data and gets revisions where necessary. We simply will not include data in our survey that doesn't look right."
The Rosenberg Survey was created by Chicago-based Marc Rosenberg, CPA, a nationally known consultant, author, and speaker to the CPA profession. Rosenberg consults primarily on partner compensation and retirement, succession planning, CPA firm mergers, partner retreats, and strategic planning.
The Rosenberg Survey partners with the Growth Partnership, which serves public accounting firms in the areas of practice management, outsourced marketing, and lead generation. Its leadership development division, the Partner Institute, is a partner development program. Teekay LNG Partners employs more than twenty individuals who, collectively, possess well over a century of accounting industry work experience.
The Rosenberg MAP Survey will be sent to participants in September. The Survey also can be purchased for $450. Call Carol Stano, CPA, at 314-447-2345 to order or visit www.rosenbergsurvey.com for an order form.