Stat data from the AICPA lists information for CPA firms sorted by size: big 4, top 100, large (21-75), medium (11-20), small (2-10), and sole practitioners. Table includes number of firms in each category, total revenue for that sector, number of professional staff in each category. This is 2009 data.
We’re All Small Firms Now, from CPATrendlines; data from AICPA.
A few tidbits of interest to me:
Big 4 have average of 22,942 professional staff. Sole practitioners average 1.47 professionals. Four firms in the first category and 30,745 in the later.
267,264 professionals in the industry, per the data in the 2009 table.
Distribution of staff by size:
- about 1/3 of the staff are in Big 4 firms
- about 1/3 are in the small/medium/large range
- remaining 1/3 are split between top 100 and sole practitioners (17% each)
Revenue per professional:
- 353k – Big 4
- 257k – top 100
- 208k – all in the middle – (219k for large, 212k for medium, 203k for small, so except at the very large and very small, billings person are about the same)
- 153k – sole practitioner
The average annual billing is probably a good approximation for average billing rate. So, the price premium at each level is:
- Big 4 are 37% more expensive than top 100
- Top 100 are 24% more expensive than the middle sector (consisting of firms from 2 to 75 professionals)
- Middle sector are 36% more expensive than sole practitioner.
Implications? Unless you need a more visible name, you will probably see dramatic cost savings from moving “down” a level in terms of size.