Client retention and firm growth are key issues for firms.

Author:Metzler, Jim
Position::American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Division of Certified Public Accountant Firms - Financial Accounting Foundation - Report

The top issues affecting CPA firms vary by size of the firm. However, growth and client retention are important to all, according to the 2011 PCPS CPA Firm Top Issues survey. This is a departure from the 2009 survey, when client retention ranked number one for firms across the board.


"While client retention and firm growth did not top the list of top issues firms are concerned with across the board, there is no doubt that these are key to all," said CPA Jim Metzler, AICPA vice president for small firm interests. "The AICPA is working with firms to help their clients with better strategic planning and to help firms learn how to best market to future clients, retain current ones and understand the ever-growing complexities of tax laws and audit and accounting standards."

Adding new clients ranks number one for firms employing two to five, 6 to 10 and 11 to 20 professionals. The top concern of sole practitioners is keeping up with changes and complexity of tax laws. Firms with 21+ professionals rank partner accountability/unity as the top concern.

"CPAs can use these lists to benchmark their own experiences against those of other practitioners in firms very much like their own," said Metzler.

Survey Highlights

* Retention of clients was the second largest challenge for sole practitioners, firms with two to five and 6 to 10 professionals. Bringing in new clients ranked second for firms with 21+ professionals and third for sole practitioners. Partner accountability/unity was second for firms with 11 to 20 professionals.

* Developing a succession plan was in the top five for firms with 11 to 20 and 21+ professionals and in the top ten for other sized firms.

* Fee pressure/pricing of services was in the top five for firms with 6 to 10 and 21+ professionals.

* Keeping up with accounting and attest standards was in the top 10 for sole...

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