CPA firms across the country saw their fees flatten last year, according to a new survey, while income per partner fell 2.5 percent.
The survey, by Rosenberg Associates, of 54 CPA firms of various sizes, found that 50 percent laid off staff in 2009 and 50 percent did not. Sixty-five percent of the firms saw an increase in the availability of quality staff to hire, and 60 percent of the firms hired new staff last year despite the economic downturn.
Fees are expected to increase in 2010 by 3 percent. Seventeen percent of firms in the $2 million to $5 million range plan to hire more staff in 2010, while 50 percent of firms in the $6 million to $10 million range intend to hire this year, and 43 percent of $10 million-plus firms plan to hire staff this year. Only 9 percent of the 54 firms plan to lay off staff this year.
Sixty-two percent of the firms plan to increase their marketing expenditures next year, compared to 44 percent last year.
Many firms continued to pursue mergers last year. "Only 4 percent of all firms held off on mergers," wrote Marc Rosenberg, CPA, of Rosenberg Associates. "Thirty-two percent said they were continuing to pursue mergers as in the past, and 64 percent reported no change from the prior year. The 'no change' could be that those who were pursuing mergers continued to do so, and firms that were not pursuing mergers continued to stay out of the merger market."
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