Accounting Firm Benchmarks

Recently, I dug into the Census data and ran some analyses on the data collected from accounting firms to come up with some accounting firm benchmarks. This is from the 2016 SUSB Annual Data Tables by Establishment Industry, which is the most recently released data. I reviewed the data for “Accounting, Tax Preparation, Bookkeeping, and Payroll Services” (NAICS 54121) and this is what I found out:

  • The average revenue per employee for all firms is over $100K.
  • Firms with 0-4 employees actually had higher average revenue per employee numbers and the average decreased the larger the organization.
  • The average payroll per employee for all firms is $48K.
  • Over 70% of the firms in the entire data set (112K+) have 0-4 employees.

My biggest takeaway here is the benchmark of $100K in revenue per employee number. I believe this should be the benchmark that our industry strives for. It is definitely possible (I’ve done it) but it does take hard work in managing your practice. And obviously, you have to do more managing the bigger your firm gets. I talk more about what this means in terms of your firm’s capacity in this podcast episode.

Here is a further breakdown of the information I was able to put together based on the data tables.


Firm Size Number of Firms Average Revenue Average Revenue per Staff Average Payroll per Staff
0-4 79,477 $178,934.14 $107,767.00 $36,628.59
5-9 17,992 $573,049.30 $88,978.57 $38,211.01
10-19 8,130 $1,208,048.59 $91,876.70 $43,595.30
20-99 5,118 $3,451,793.67 $94,691.34 $48,043.61
100-499 1,008 $12,515,966.27 $83,160.37 $44,878.39


If you want to review the data I looked at, here are all the different links:


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Cathy Iconis

Cathy Iconis, CPA is the creator and facilitator of the weekly tweetchat #QBOchat and the website - a community for QuickBooks Online Users. She is also the founder of Iconis Group, an Intuit Top 20 Firm of the Future, that supports small businesses all over the United States with their bookkeeping needs. She is a five-time recipient of the prestigious CPA Practice Advisor 40 Under 40 Award, given annually to just 40 people nationwide.

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