The results are in for the new 2019 Intuit Rate Survey
Drum roll, please … we are excited to share the results of the 2019 Intuit® Rate Survey! We will provide insights into the billing methods, rates, and use of technology learned from the survey over the next few weeks in a series of articles on Firm of the Future.
This year’s survey was open throughout November and December, and we received hundreds of responses from bookkeepers, accountants, and consultants in the accounting community. The vast majority (82%) indicated they are members of the QuickBooks ProAdvisor® program, and graciously shared their firm practices, insights, and advice with us so we can share their experience with you.
Firms are hiring
As in years past, the majority (72%) of the respondents told us they were the sole owner of their firm or a partner (16%) in a firm that had five or fewer employees. However, the data seems to indicate that more sole practitioners are expanding and hiring staff. From 2017 to 2019, there was a 10% decrease in those who identified as a solo practitioner, a 12% increase in firms with 2-5 staff members, and a 43% increase in firms with 6-10 staff members. We had many respondents tell us that they are finding work through freelancing websites such as Upwork and Thumbtack, which begs the question whether solo practitioners are outsourcing services or hiring employees.
Who is being served?
This year, we also wanted to find out the size of the businesses ProAdvisors are servicing, so we asked what percentage of clients were in different size categories. Not surprisingly, the majority of clients served are microbusinesses or SMBs, with only 4% of clients considered mid-market or large companies. As Intuit expands its presence in the mid-market with QuickBooks® Online Advanced and QuickBooks Enterprise, it will be interesting to see if the needle moves these numbers over the next few years. Are you considering extending your reach into new markets? Look for an upcoming article that will reveal what we found about how your peers are getting new clients and growing their firms.
2019 average billing rates
Now let’s get down to the nitty gritty, billing rates! We asked ProAdvisors to tell us their hourly rate for different types of services and below are the average rates for 2019, along with the average rates from the last two surveys in 2017 and 2015.
While the hourly rates have increased overall from 2015, they remained steady or decreased slightly from the last survey completed in 2017. This could be, however, due to the change in billing methods as practitioners move away from hourly toward value pricing and fixed fee billing.
Changes in billing methods
The move away from the billable hour has continued since our last survey. We saw a 7.5% decrease in those who charge hourly for monthly bookkeeping services and 8.5% in value pricing. Value billing, the practice of billing a client based on the perceived value of the engagement dipped by almost 12 percent from 2017 to 2019, while fixed fee remained about the same.
Look for a deeper dive into the changes your peers are making in their pricing structure and the response they say they have received from their clients in a future article – the results may surprise you! We’ll also be focusing on the goals accounting pros have set for themselves in 2020 and offering predictions for the coming year.