Accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping and payroll services are collectively amongst the most profitable industries, according to Sageworks, a provider of financial information on privately held companies.

Those services collectively had a net profit margin, on a pre-tax basis, of 19.80 percent. In contrast, legal services had a net profit margin of 17.82 percent, oil and gas extraction had a margin of 16.43 percent, commercial and industrial machinery and equipment rental and leasing netted a profit margin of 16.40 percent, and dentist offices had a net profit margin of 14.89 percent. The data was for the period July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014.

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