Archive for the ‘Stats’ Category

Thursday, June 27th, 2019

A Reminder About the Rosenberg Survey

“Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.” – Mark Twain
The Rosenberg Survey is so valuable to me as I talk with CPA firm clients throughout the year. Don’t forget to take part in this year’s survey. The deadline is July 15th.
Why is The Rosenberg Survey Valuable?
  • Customized comparison of like-sized firms in similar markets for participating firms.
  • Accurate and valid results reviewed by three CPAs.
  • Reliable year-over-year comparisons with a return rate of 82% from previous year’s participants.
  • A robust pool of 360 participants makes our data relevant to firms of all sizes.
  • Clear cut data displayed by firm size for comparison.
Click the link below today to take part!
to participate in the Rosenberg Survey!
  • Statistics suggest that when customers complain, business owners and managers ought to get excited about it. The complaining customer represents a huge opportunity for more business.
  • Zig Ziglar

Thursday, September 20th, 2018

It Arrived! – My Copy of the Rosenberg Survey

fullsizeoutput_42cf“80% of firms never make it to the second generation.” – Marc Rosenberg

I always look forward to the day in September each year when my copy of The Rosenberg Survey arrives. That happened yesterday.

I have always found that public accounting is a fascinating profession. It’s challenging, interesting, never boring and profitable (if your firm is managed properly). For example, this year in the Forward section of the survey, Charles Hylan shows us that the average HIGH partner comp in the largest firms is $1,175,000 and the LOW partner comp in smaller firms is $247,000. That’s quite a spread and shows young accountants the possibilities for their career growth. Use the survey to see where your firm is doing well and where you might need to focus some attention. You can order it here.

Be sure to read my comments, along with several other CPA management consultants, in the Observations section beginning on Page 6.

  • Most firms are still stuck managing the compliance services at the expense of the advisory work.
  • Jeff Pawlow

Thursday, July 5th, 2018

Billing For Administrative Time

“The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.” – Leo Tolstoy

One practice management question that has been asked many times over the years is whether administrative team members should charge their time to a client.

If your firm is still billing by the hour, all employees whether admin team or accounting team should record any time expended on behalf of a client. Whether it is billed or not is up to the discretion of the biller, usually a partner. I have observed that in many firms, most, if not all, of this time is billed.

The accounting firm administrative team spends a great deal of their time on client work. They are providing service on behalf of a client. Serving the client is a valuable and important activity.

Some clients are more “needy” than others and often much of that neediness for service falls to the admin team.

I have also observed that administrative team members focused on client work are usually only about 30-40% chargeable.


  • Time has more value than money. You can get more money but you cannot get more time.
  • Jim Rohn

Friday, September 23rd, 2016

Rosenberg Annual Survey

img_7794It’s September and I just received my copy of the 2016 issue of The Rosenberg Survey. It is the 18th Annual Edition. The Rosenberg Survey is one of the most popular and widely respected national MAP surveys for the CPA profession.

Comments and insights from many well-known CPA management consultants are included. Look for my comments on Page 21.

The survey includes numbers from:

  • Firms with over $20M in fees
  • Firms with fees of $10-$20M
  • Firms with fees of $2-$10M
  • Firms with fees under $2M
  • Sole practitioner firms

Order yours here.

  • Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense.
  • Gertrude Stein

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

That Time Of Year – Rosenberg Annual Survey

IMG_5827Just received my copy of the 17th Annual Edition of the Rosenberg Survey. It is one of the most popular and widely respected national surveys of CPA Firm Statistics.

Read more about it and order your copy here.

  • Be careful of reading health books. You may die of a misprint.
  • Mark Twain

Monday, June 9th, 2014

Your Are Invited To Participate In The Rosenberg Survey

A year has rolled around again and it is time for you to take part in the Rosenberg Survey – The National MAP Survey of CPA Firm Statistics.  Information about the survey is below.  Here’s the link to take the 2014 Survey.

Rosenberg Information Sheet 2014

  • The statistics on sanity are that one out of every four Americans is suffering from some form of mental illness. Think of your three best friends. If they're okay, then it's you.
  • Rita Mae Brown

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

Millennials – Those 33 and Under Inside Your CPA Firm

Last week Pew  Research released the results of a new study focused on the Millennial generation.

One of the findings could mean a lot inside your CPA firm. The issue of trust:

Millennials have emerged into adulthood with low levels of social trust. In response to a long-standing social science survey question, “Generally speaking, would you say that most people can be trusted or that you can’t be too careful in dealing with people,” just 19% of Millennials say most people can be trusted, compared with 31% of Gen Xers, 37% of Silents and 40% of Boomers.

When I see a group of partners who truly seem to trust each other, their firm excels. If I encounter an administrative team inside a firm that trust each other, they provide amazing service to their internal and external clients.

In the majority of firms I encounter, I do not see an outstanding culture of trust.

In Patrick Lencioni’s book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, he identifies Absence of Trust as the foundational dysfunction. Trust is the foundation of real teamwork.

One major factor in the lack of trust culture inside CPA firms is the issue of inclusion. Young people are excluded from many management activities and conversations. Partner meet, managers meet and the rest of the accounting team just wonders what they are meeting about.

Include your Millennials. They are the ones 33 and under. They have great ideas and a unique perspective.

  • I'm not upset that you lied to me, I'm upset that from now on I can't believe you.
  • Nietzsche

Friday, January 10th, 2014

Don’t Always Believe It

I try to provide CPAs and all the people working inside CPA firms with helpful information via my presentations, workshops, newsletter, consulting activities and this blog.

Much of it comes from my many years of actual experience working inside a growing, profitable CPA firm. Some of it also comes from my extensive reading…. of books, articles, newsletters, blogs, tweets, and so on.

There is so much great information out there now via the internet. Just a word of caution, as you probably already know – – not all of it is true. I’m trying to be very careful in what I pass along and I want you to also be very careful when you hear about or read about certain trends, strategies and best practices.

My mission today is to simply share an example.

photoOn the topic of goal-setting, I have read about and heard about a study conducted by Harvard Business School over a 10-year period. The study reported that only 3% of Harvard MBAs actually write down their goals – 97% do not. The study also reported that the 3% ended up being much more successful and, over the 10-year period, were making ten times as much as the other 97% combined.

This study eventually was discovered to be fiction. Here’s the answer to an inquiry made to Harvard “Ask a Librarian” site:

I think you are referring to the “Harvard Goals Study,” reports of which periodically surface in motivational literature. We have been asked repeatedly about this research, but we have never been able to find such a study. It is frequently cited as having transpired at Yale, but librarians there have not found a trace either. 

Read the entire Harvard response here.

You can also read more about this goal-setting story here. I found it quite interesting.

The moral of the story? Be careful out there!

  • Repetition does not transform a lie into a truth.
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt

Friday, October 18th, 2013

Don’t Mess-Up Or Misunderstand Your MAP Stats

My good friend, Marc Rosenberg, you know the famous Rosenberg Survey guy, has shared some great information on the 10 biggest mistakes partners make in reading and computing MAP statistics.

Here are some bullet points but be sure to follow the link to read much more informative detail about each one.

Over-reliance on partner income percentage as a measure of profitability. – Many partners believe that 33% is the minimum acceptable partner income percentage and they should strive for 40%. If a firm is heavily leveraged, partner income percentages in the 20s and low 30s are perfectly acceptable.

Being content with “average.” – This is one that really bugs me! Don’t celebrate being average.

Average salary data – Salary data is too tied to geographic area for nationwide averages to be very helpful.

Utilization percentage – This metric is total billable hours of a firm divided by the total work hours of the firm, with all personnel included.

Net firm billing rate – This is calculated by taking the total annual net fees of the firm and dividing it by the total firm billable hours.

Average compensation for firm administrators – This is a mis-leading number because of the wide variety of levels of firm administrators. Rosenberg thinks the results were misleading and has discontinued using it.

Treating non-equity partners like “partners.” – Treating non-equity partners the same as equity partners will usually distort the computations. ManIMG_1902y non-equity partners perform like managers.

Computing income per partner. – Don’t ignore the distinction between accrual and cash basis methods of accounting.

Average fees per professional – There is a problem here with definition. What is a professional? It varies by firm. Rosenberg likes to use fees per person.

Computing the average charge hours for any category of personnel, such as partners and professional staff. – There are two main issues. Most firms make the mistake of computing the number of FTE’s by adding up their total work hours and dividing by 2080. The only proper way to compute average annual charge hours for a personnel grouping is to only include personnel who were with the firm for a full year and were full time the entire year.

Order your copy of the 2013 Rosenberg Survey here.

  • Some of the worst mistakes of my life have been haircuts.
  • Jim Morrison

Friday, September 27th, 2013

Hot Off The Press – The 2013 Rosenberg Survey

rosenberg-surveyRita, as she opens the mail:  “Hooray, I got my copy of The Rosenberg Survey!”

Rita’s husband:  “You’re weird.”

Yes, I admit it, I’ve always been slightly weird. I see joy and humor in things most people don’t notice. I like people who are unique, maybe even quirky. My husband says I attract them. To me, it has certainly enriched my life – for the better.

While getting excited over an accounting practice management survey is rather weird, I know that many of you also look forward to the annual MAP surveys for the CPA profession. The benefits of this year’s Rosenberg Survey follow:

  • To make the information useful we have groupings based on firm size, population of market and geographic region
  • Executive summary written by Marc Rosenberg
  • A 46-page narrative written by Charles Hylan
  • Observations and predictions from the top accounting profession consultants
  • 80% repeat rate, making year-to-year comparisons highly relevant
  • Over 100 benchmarks
  • New statistics related to financial service practices
  • All information undergoes a thorough review by 3 CPAs
  • Benchmarks related to partner compensation, partner buy-in and buy-out and partner retirement plans
  • An analysis showing which statistics correlate with firm profitability
  • Row-by-row comparisons so the reader can look at each statistic of every participating firm

The Rosenberg Survey, now in its 15th year, reports on the results from 390 accounting firms, most of which range from $2-$20M in annual fees. The survey is well-known and well-respected within the national CPA industry due to is solid reputation for accuracy, thoroughness and high participation rate.

Warning: Please don’t look at the survey and be content if your firm is AVERAGE. Strive to be creative, unique and do things other firms are NOT doing. You have so much creative brain power inside your firm, don’t just do what everyone else is doing. Remember how your Mother warned you against doing that!

To order your copy go to and fill out an order form.

  • I think everybody's weird. We should all celebrate our individuality and not be embarrassed or ashamed of it.
  • Johnny Depp