INSIDE Public Accounting Releases Annual Ranking and Performance Metrics of the Nation’s Largest Public Accounting Firms

INSIDE Public Accounting unveils the IPA 100 – the annual list of the largest 100 accounting firms in the country.  Find out if your firm made the list. IPA subscribers and firms that completed the IPA survey will receive the August issue, which features the IPA 100, IPA 200 and IPA 300 list, the fastest-growing IPA 100 firms, and an analysis of the data. The newsletter will be released this week.

The IPA 100: Key Highlights Of America’s 100 Largest Firms – Excluding the Big 4

  • The pace of organic growth (excluding mergers) has slowed to 6.8% for the group, down from 7.5% growth reported in 2016. Acquisitions (both traditional CPA firms as well as other consulting companies) pushed the overall growth rate to 9.4%.
  • Organic growth in net income, at 4.8%, has slowed to a pace not seen since 2011. Even factoring in acquisitions, net income growth is up only 5.5% over last year.
  • Audit and accounting services in the IPA 100 continue a multi-year decline as a percentage of total revenue – to now represent an average of 37% of total firm revenue as firms grow non-traditional services.
  • Non-traditional services offered by the IPA 100 firms, such as consulting, technology and financial services, climbed to an average of 27% of total net revenue.
  • Professional staff turnover (CPAs and other client-serving staff) averaged 15.0% for the IPA 100; with one in seven IPA 100 averaging more than 20% professional staff turnover.

“In addition to the challenges already faced by the profession, the coming wave of artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain technology and Big Data is advancing faster than anyone would have predicted even three years ago,” says Mike Platt, principal with INSIDE Public Accounting. “Efforts are underway on many fronts to re-engineer how the business of public accounting gets done. The coming changes will be transformational.”

View the full list of the IPA 100, 200 and 300 Firms.

For copies of the 2017 IPA 100 Firms issue, customized reprints and pricing information, please contact Chelsea Summers.

Subscribe to the IPA monthly newsletter today!

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Order any of the 2017 IPA benchmarking products, including the IPA National Benchmarking Report to gain insider strategies.

About The Platt Group and INSIDE Public Accounting: INSIDE Public Accounting (IPA), founded in 1987, is published by The Platt Group. The Platt Group publishes both the award-winning INSIDE Public Accounting newsletter and the award-winning National Benchmarking Report.

IPA INSIDER: June 2017 News

Listed below are the Top 10 most-read stories on the INSIDE Public Accounting blog for the month of June.

  1. Settlement Reached in Andersen Tax Trademark Dispute in California
  2. Kucera Named AAM’s 2017 Marketer of the Year
  3. CLA Merges in Southern California Firm
  4. IPA Vendor Spotlight On … Chandra Bhansali, AccountantsWorld
  5. Sikich Names Murphy PIC of Manufacturing and Distribution Practice
  6. Dempsey and Team Join CLA in Idaho
  7. Platt’s Perspective: Classifying Clients – It’s Good For The Top And Bottom Line (And Everything In Between)
  8. Canada’s MNP Announces Two Mergers
  9. AAFCPAs Hires New CFO
  10. Weiner Named Chair and CEO of Marcum, Bukzin Named Vice Chair

IPA INSIDER: February 2017 News

Listed below are the Top 10 most-read stories on the INSIDE Public Accounting blog for the month of February. IPA Logo - with tag line

  1. IPA Spotlight On … James Hickey, Alliott Group
  2. Brown Edwards Acquires Dixon Hughes Goodman in Roanoke
  3. Elliott Davis Decosimo Admits Ten New Shareholders
  4. Frazier & Deeter Joins PKF International
  5. Armanino Admits Five Partners
  6. HCVT Admits Takahashi as Audit Partner
  7. UHY LLP Grows International Tax Practice with Merger
  8. Two North Carolina Firms Combine
  9. Chapter Closes in Novelist’s Suit Against Anchin
  10. Lutz and McDermott & Miller Join Forces

IPA INSIDER: January 2017 News

Listed below are the Top 10 most-read stories on the INSIDE Public Accounting blog for the month of January. IPA Logo - with tag line

  1. Plante Moran Announces New Firm Management Team
  2. Banda Named Leader of Government and Public Sector Advisory at CohnReznick
  3. IPA Spotlight On … Bruce Zicari
  4. Armanino Admits Five Partners
  5. Elliott Davis Decosimo Admits Ten New Shareholders
  6. Main Amundson Joins CLA, Expanding Western Presence
  7. GE’s Tax Staff Deal With PwC: The Start of a Trend?
  8. Geier Becomes MP and CEO of Sikich
  9. Langenhorst & Self-Merritt to Join Eide Bailly
  10. HA&W Changes Names to Aprio

IPA INSIDER: November 2016 News

Listed below are the Top 10 most-read stories on the INSIDE Public Accounting blog for the month of November. IPA Logo - with tag line

  1. Sikich Acquires Chicago-Area Firm
  2. Kiesling Associates to Join BKD
  3. BDO Merges in McPhillips Roberts & Deans
  4. Elliott Davis Decosimo Admits Ten New Shareholders
  5. CBIZ Acquires Actuarial Consultants Inc. and Seff Group
  6. K·Coe Isom Acquires Turlock, Calif., Firm
  7. IPA Unveils The 2016 Pyramid Awards
  8. UHY Advisors Returns to Connecticut Market with CPA Firm
  9. The 2016 Most Admired Peers
  10. Baker Tilly Partner Martin Named a Top Woman in Finance

IPA INSIDER: October 2016 News

Listed below are the Top 10 most-read stories on the INSIDE Public Accounting blog for the month of October. IPA Logo - with tag line

  1. The 2016 IPA Most Recommended Consultants
  2. The 2016 Most Admired Peers
  3. Moss Adams Announces Leadership Moves
  4. Travis Wolff to Join Armanino, Giving California Firm a Foothold in Dallas
  5. Shamis Leaving BDO to Launch Consulting Firm
  6. The 2016 INSIDE Public Accounting Benchmarking Report ‘Executive Summary’ is Now Available
  7. DHG Expands to California with the Addition of Parke Guptill & Company
  8. 34- to 40-year-old CPA Professionals Tell Firm Leaders What They Need
  9. Warren Averett and Beason & Nalley Combine
  10. Baker Tilly’s Walther, O’Leary Honored with AICPA Standing Ovation Awards

The 2016 INSIDE Public Accounting Benchmarking Report ‘Executive Summary’ is Now Available

IPA presents the Executive Summary of its 2016 National Benchmarking Report, offered to all participants in this year’s IPA Survey and Analysis of Firms. Your contributions have made it possible to report on the state of the nation’s accounting firms. Thank you.

If you have not yet ordered the report tools for 2016, click here to order them today. Benchmarking is a self-improvement tool that allows firms to compare themselves with others to identify their strengths and weaknesses to learn how to improve.

Access your complimentary summary.


POUNCE® Team Recognized as 2016 Innovative Practitioners by

P&N Tech, the information technology subsidiary of Baton Rouge, La.-based Postlethwaite & Netterville (FY16 net revenue of $57.6 million) has announced that Rachael Higginbotham and Caitlin Lacher, two of the project team members behind the development of Pounce®, have been named winners of the Innovative Practitioners of the Year Award by

The annual award recognizes innovations in process, services or technology implementation in public accounting firms.

The development of Pounce® was a collaborative effort between the application development team of P&N Tech and the marketing and business development professionals of Postlethwaite & Netterville. IPA wrote about Pounce® in a wide-ranging panel conversation on innovation at the Association for Accounting Marketing annual conference in New Orleans.

Pounce® is an easy-to-use, web-based system designed for service providers in the accounting, business consulting, legal and architect/engineer/contractor (A/E/C) industries. The purpose of the system is to provide employees access to marketing collateral and resumes to aid in business development and sales efforts.

The Pounce® team will be recognized in December at the 2016 Digital CPA Conference to in Las Vegas.

Learn more about Pounce® at

What Gender Issue?

By Jennifer Wilson

Guest Blogger Jennifer Wilson

Guest Blogger
Jennifer Wilson

Many question whether a gender issue exists in our profession. I did not expect to encounter this issue as part of the INSIDE Public Accounting / ConvergenceCoaching research study, “The Road to Retention: Motivators and Drivers for Young Public Accounting Professionals.” What I anticipated was generationally-focused feedback highlighting the differences between mature and younger professionals.

Digging into feedback from 723 young professionals, however, brought me face-to-face with some stark gender differences and the worrisome messages they convey. Based on the data, there is a very real gender issue in our profession and it’s one that firm leaders need to pay close attention to if the sustainability and growth of your firm is important to you.

But before we get into our gender findings, let’s first explore some important background details:

  • There are at least as many female college graduates and more young female graduates than young male grads these days. According to Time magazine, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that 37.5% of women ages 25-34 hold at least a bachelor’s degree compared to 29.5% of men in the same age group. The number of women with bachelor’s degrees of all ages and majors is now roughly equal to that of men.
  • Women join our profession in nearly equal numbers as men. According to the AICPA, women represent more than 50% of accounting graduates entering the profession over the last 20 years.
  • But women don’t “make it” to leadership at the same rate as their male counterparts. Only 24% of all partners in the U.S. are female, and females represent a paltry 16% of equity partners in firms with more than 100 CPAs (AICPA CPA Firm Gender Survey).

So, the professional talent pool is half female – and is likely to be at least or more than half female going forward. But less than a quarter of those women become CPA firm owners. How come?

I Strongly Agree That My Firms Leaders / Managers Recognize My Skills and Make Full Use of Them

I Strongly Agree That My Firm’s Leaders / Managers Recognize My Skills & Make Full Use of Them

The IPA Road to Retention survey provides us with some clues. For instance:

  • Women start out feeling their skills are properly utilized, but this drops off as they progress.  Men strongly agree that their firm recognizes and makes full use of their skills and this feeling increases with the years of experience, from 39% to 45%. It’s the opposite for women, where the feeling that their firm makes good use of their skills declines as they age, from 47% to 38%.
  • Females become less certain of what it takes to advance with age. Of women aged 21-33, 45% strongly agreed that they know what it takes to advance in their career, but this declined to 34% for women ages 34-40.  This murkiness on the path to partner was an issue for men, too.


    I Strongly Agree That My Firm’s Leaders / Managers Recognize My Skills & Make Full Use of Them

  • As women progressed, their respect for firm leadership declined. As men progressed in their careers, their respect for firm leadership grew.
  • Fewer women plan to become partner than men. Of female respondents, 32% indicated that they plan to become partner compared with 51% of their male counterparts.

If women felt better utilized and clearer about their path to partner, would they ascend in greater numbers than they have to date?

And what’s causing the declining respect women seem to have for firm leaders as they mature? Isn’t it likely that there’s a correlation between that declining respect and their lower desire to join those leaders at the partner table?

A few other interesting gender findings shed more light on the gap:

  • For women, the feeling that their workload is reasonable declined as they mature, moving from 39% to 28%, while men’s feelings that their workload is reasonable increased from 35% to 42%.
  • When given the opportunity to share what they find to be the least enjoyable aspect of their work, a whopping 58% of women noted they least enjoy “the hours” they work. Men surveyed felt the same way.
  • When we asked respondents to rank the top factors affecting their willingness to stay in public accounting, women ranked work/life balance and flexibility as their top two “stay” factors.

So where do we start? First, we admit there’s a problem. Then, recognize that this problem isn’t only a women’s issue because it has the potential to impact men and women alike by significantly handicapping our profession. If bright young women don’t believe our profession offers them the best opportunity to utilize their skills, win at home and at work and ascend to senior leadership, we simply won’t attract and retain our fair share of this critical talent resource. And, we won’t be able to retain the smart, capable women we’ve been fortunate enough to attract to the profession thus far.

Take steps to encourage open communication in your firm – first at senior leadership and then within your team to better understand the issues that your people feel impact the rise of women leaders.

Encourage uncomfortable, raw and honest feedback on what needs to change in your firm – from both women AND men – and then test ideas and pilot programs to address them.

Talent is the new battleground and firms that attract, develop and retain both genders in equal numbers win. When the dust settles, where will your firm end up?

Learn more about the Road to Retention report.

Jennifer Wilson is a partner and co-founder of ConvergenceCoaching LLC, a leadership and management consulting and coaching firm that helps leaders achieve success. Learn more about the company and its services at

Workplace Flexibility: A Critical Piece of the Retention Puzzle

By Jennifer Wilson

Guest Blogger Jennifer Wilson

Guest Blogger
Jennifer Wilson

With professional staff turnover at its highest rate in a decade and one of six IPA 100 firms losing over 20% of their team members in the last year, solving the retention puzzle has never been more important. In “The Road to Retention: Motivators and Drivers for Young Public Accounting Professionals,” our collaborative research study with INSIDE Public Accounting, we have begun to identify a number of big pieces in the retention puzzle for firms.

One of those pieces is workplace flexibility, or something we at ConvergenceCoaching call Anytime, Anywhere WorkTM. In this blog, we’ll explore the importance of workplace flex practices as reflected in The Road to Retention report and the 2016 ConvergenceCoaching Anytime, Anywhere Work Survey, which recently gathered flexible work practice information from 160 firms to help advance this important element of firm culture across the profession.

But first, why is this subject of flexibility important?

In the Road to Retention study, we asked 723 young professionals which factors were most important in influencing their decision to stay working with their current firms. The No. 1 stay factor was work/life balance. Flexible work practices ranked fourth overall and No. 2 for women surveyed. Connect this with the overwhelmingly number – 60% – of the young professionals who listed their least enjoyable employment element as the hours they work. If work/life balance and flex are very important and the hours we’re asking young professionals to work are making them unhappy, isn’t an investment in a flexible work culture a strategic imperative?

We sure think so.

When we asked our Road to Retention young professionals how they would change the typical workday schedule, their top three answers were to offer:

  • Work-from-home options
  • Improved flexibility related to hours, and
  • A four-day work week option.

Road to Retention respondents with 2 to 5 years of experience, in particular, cited work flexibility as a weakness at their firms, suggesting leaders could do a better job of allowing them to work in a way they feel is most productive, even if it’s outside the office or in a group.

What are other firms doing in these areas?

Of the firms surveyed in the 2016 ConvergenceCoaching Anytime, Anywhere Work survey:

  • 68% allow their team members to flex their hours, and 29% do some of this, but on a case-by-case basis
  • 51% offer some sort of Fridays off benefit during the summer, 22% of whom close their offices for part or all of every Friday in summer
  • 45% of firms allow their team members to choose their place of work, with another 49% allowing ‘flex of place’ occasionally or on a case-by-case basis
  • 44% believe that their leadership sees flex as a strategic advantage and that leadership buy-in is high
  • 42% employ a team member who moved to another geography and continued working for their firm
  • 40% have a written flex policy in place that is updated annually
  • 39% no longer mandate work on Saturdays (even during busy season!) and of those who still mandate them during busy season, half allow their team members to work the Saturday hours from home
  • 15% have hired an employee in another geography other than where they have an office
  • 12%, or 18 innovative firms, close their offices or keep a skeletal crew between the Christmas and New Year’s holidays
  • 5%, or eight leading-edge firms, offer an unlimited PTO benefits and another 19 firms, or 13%, are thinking about offering this benefit.

How can you make flexibility a genuine cultural element?

Those included in our Anytime, Anywhere Survey said the steps they have taken to improve overall firm buy-in, support and positivity around their flexible work programs include:

  • Leaders supporting flex arrangements (38 firms)
  • Continually improving cloud-based options, remote technologies and use of video (13 firms)
  • Leaders participating in the program like any other employee and serving as a positive role model for flex (13 firms)
  • Fostering constant, open and clear communication (9 firms)
  • Rolling out new programs or making adjustments, piloting programs and measuring success with a goal of finding a way to say YES rather than NO (9 firms)
  • Demonstrating the improved retention of good employees (7 firms)
  • Creating a written remote work policy that supports both the firm’s goals as well as the employee’s goals (5 firms)
  • Improving their positive verbal promotion about flex programs in orientations and staff meetings (5 firms)
  • Repeating stories regarding positive examples of flexible work, sharing how they use flex successfully and reviewing work performed out of office (5 firms)

Why should you invest in flex and further your firm’s programs and make workplace flexibility a cultural standard?

Because 89% of the firms surveyed felt it allowed members of their teams to experience better work/life balance or integration – remember, this is the No. 1 stay factor for the young professionals surveyed in the IPA/Convergence Road to Retention survey!

And, because 62% of the firms in the ConvergenceCoaching 2016 Anytime, Anywhere Survey indicated that a positive result their firms experienced from their flexible work programs is “retaining staff we could not retain otherwise,” and 55% indicated their flexible work programs enabled them to retain an employee who moved outside of their geography.

Wow! It is so clear that to sustain next-generation talent for the long term, firm leaders must shift from outdated concepts of “time” and “place” and fit anytime, anywhere work into their firms’ employee retention and engagement puzzle – the sooner, the better!

Learn more about the Road to Retention report.

Learn more about the 2016 Anytime, Anywhere Survey.

Jennifer Wilson is a co-founder and partner of ConvergenceCoaching, a national leadership and marketing consulting firm.