Education and nonprofit sectors most disrupted by COVID-19: Poll

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The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the education and nonprofit sectors for the foreseeable future, according to a new poll of accountants in Ohio.

The survey, via the Ohio Society of CPAs, was conducted by independent research group Avenue M. Nearly 15,000 professionals across 18 state CPA societies were surveyed about their outlook of impacted sectors from the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey was conducted in May and features responses from partners, sole practitioners, C-Suite executives, staff members and finance professionals, among others.

Negative economic ramifications from the pandemic were most acutely felt in the education and nonprofit sectors, according to those surveyed. For instance, 38 percent of Ohio respondents representing these sectors believed it could take more than two years to return these sectors to pre-COVID-19 levels. Only 8 percent of Ohio CPAs across all other sectors, however, felt the same two-year figure was applicable.

“These uncertain times have been especially challenging to our members and their employers, said Scott Wiley, OSCPA president and CEO, in a statement. “As trusted advisors to businesses and organizations of all sizes across Ohio, CPAs are charged with guiding their employers and clients to the other side of the pandemic.”

Other key findings from respondents include:

  • Six percent of the national professionals surveyed said they are experiencing complete disruption to their work.
  • National respondents who worked for companies with 101-500 (45 percent) or more than 500 (47 percent) professionals are more likely than professionals at smaller companies — namely single-person companies (19 percent) — to find the COVID-19 pandemic highly disruptive.
  • CPAs who work for nonprofits are more concerned with reevaluating their budget and business plans (77 percent) than CPAs working in other sectors.
  • Compared to other sectors, those in public accounting for nonprofits are more concerned with helping clients and employers meet government deadlines (53 percent) and collecting tax info from clients (43 percent).
  • More than half (53 percent) of Ohio CPAs polled reported their business has moderately or greatly decreased. Seventeen percent also reported a reduction in staff.
  • Almost one-quarter (24 percent) of Ohio respondents who specialize in managerial/corporate roles reported an increase in business.
  • Ohio CPAs in the education/academic (75 percent) or nonprofit sectors (62 percent) are more likely than other sectors to report extreme or complete disruption to their workplace.

For more on the survey, head to the OSCPA's site here.

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