INSIDE Public Accounting Releases The 2017 Accounting Firm Internal Operational Reports

INSIDE Public Accounting (IPA) has released their sixth annual Internal Operational Reports, comprised of the Firm Administration Report, the Human Resources Report and the Information Technology Report. This release coincides with the release of IPA’s 2017 National Benchmarking Report.

These internal operational reports examine further the operations and best practices of hundreds of accounting firms across North America, offering information on compensation, business incentives, bonuses, turnover, recruiting, partner compensation, technologies used and dozens of other topics and metrics – broken out by revenue bands and regions of the country.

The IPA Internal Operational Reports are used by managing partners, firm leaders, marketers, attorneys, firm administrators and business development directors to compare their firm’s performance against others, and to uncover trends, ideas and techniques to improve operations.

Key highlights from the 2017 INSIDE Public Accounting Firm Administration Report:

  • Training directors are now employed by 23% of all firms. In firms above $30 million, that number jumps to 54%.
  • Firms above $30 million are employing more social media staff this year, with 48% of firms of this size reporting they have someone dedicated to this area. Overall, 19% of all firms have social media staff, up from 16% last year. The average salary of a social media staff member is $60,579.
  • Sixty-seven percent of firms charge interest on overdue accounts receivables, with the average charging 1.3% monthly.
  • One in 15 firms report outsourcing some portion of tax return processing work, with the majority of those coming from firms greater than $30 million in revenue.
  • Firms acknowledge that they want staff looking for new business opportunities, whether it comes in the form of new clients or additional services to existing clients. Sixty percent of firms offer incentives for bringing in new clients for 0- to 2-year staff and 3- to 5-year staff. More than half the firms offer these incentives for all experience levels.

Key highlights from the 2017 INSIDE Public Accounting Human Resources Report:

  • Professional staff turnover declined this year, to 12.4% nationwide from 13.9% for the 2016 reporting year.
  • Professional staff have an average tenure of 6.6 years, about 100 days longer than in 2016, and roughly one year longer than a decade ago. Over the last decade, the tenure of professional staff employed at the largest firms, those over $75 million, trailed the all-firm average by as little as six months in 2007 to as much as 1.4 years in 2011. At that time, the average tenure was 4.5 years for professional staff at firm of over $75 million.
  • Nearly 50% of firms offer telecommuting options to all staff and 28% offer it to professional staff only.
  • Seventy-seven percent of firms offer flexible work schedules to all staff, while 16% limit this benefit to professional staff only.
  • Just one in six firms report they have a diversity recruiting program. One in three firms above $50 million report a diversity program in place.
  • Seventy-eight percent of all participating firms indicate they have a mentoring program in place. Twenty-six percent of firms offer outside mentor / life coach to staff members. Only one in nine firms rate the effectiveness of their mentoring program as “excellent.” Four percent rate their program as fair or poor.

Key highlights from the 2017 INSIDE Public Accounting Information Technology Report:

  • Sixty-seven percent of participating firms have a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) plan for cell phones, with nearly 14% implementing within the last year. This increase is mostly seen in firms below $20 million and those in the $30 million to $75 million revenue band.
  • IT maintenance of applications is easier when using the cloud, according to 74% of respondents.
  • Cloud-based applications are being used more frequently across the board, and continue to be dominated by research (81% of firms), client portals (75%) and payroll (54%).
  • Only 30% of all participating firms have instituted a formal procedure to ensure information technology projects / issues are effectively managed

For additional insight into the results of the 2017 IPA Internal Operational Reports, access complimentary copies of the executive summaries.