Accounting Firms' Economic Health Detailed

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The nation's Top 100 accounting firms posted 7.13 percent revenue growth this year, but had flat net income growth, according to Inside Public Accounting's Top 100 Accounting Firms 2009 report.

The results posted by firms with fiscal year-ends falling in mid-2009 reflect the economic downturn, says Michael Platt, consultant and publisher of IPA. "In fact, average net income growth for firms with a 2008 year-end was 7 percent, while net income growth for firms with 2009 year end is a (negative) 7 percent. If you are a partner in a firm with a year-end of Dec. 31, 2009, brace yourself. Compensation for this group will reflect the full brunt of the economic downturn, and partners will feel it directly," Platt writes in his blog.

The survey reported rising net income among firms in the Great Plans and Great Lakes, with net income declines among Northeastern, Atlantic and Southeastern firms. Profit margins held fairly steady at 29 percent of net fees, down from 30 percent in the prior study.

The report also found:

- Staff turnover averaged 14.8 percent.

- Compensation for professional staff averaged $79,866.

- Partner billing rates averaged $369, and average partner compensation clocked in at $452,744.

A listing of the top 100 firms as ranked by Inside Public Accounting can be seen here.

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