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2014 MAP Survey Results: Planning for the Future

 

The results are in from the AICPA PCPS/TSCPA 2014 National Management of an Accounting Practice (MAP) Survey, conducted by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) Private Companies Practice Section (PCPS) and the Texas Society of CPAs (TSCPA).

The survey drew 49 respondents from Virginia and 450 from the South region. The Virginia firms reported a median $896,241 in total net client fees, a 4 percent change from the previous year.

Participants can log in to view the complete survey results here.

Planning to succeed

One major change from 2012 was in the area of succession planning, with 19 percent of Virginia firms reporting a written and approved succession plan — up from 9 percent in 2012 — and 8 percent more reporting a practice continuation agreement with another firm. Thirty-two percent reported a written firm partnership agreement and 5 percent had a formal partner-in-training program.

Virginia was ahead of the rest of the South on all three metrics, with 13 percent of firms across the region reporting a succession plan or practice continuation agreement. Twenty-nine percent had a written firm partnership agreement.

Of the 52 percent of Virginia firms with a partner agreement in place, 33 percent had updated that agreement within the past three years. Nearly half (46 percent) of firms with partner agreements included a buyout in those agreements, including 90 percent of firms with over $1.5 million in net client fees.

Billing

Virginia firms billed slightly higher median hourly rates than their counterparts across the South. The discrepancy was highest at the senior manager level, defined in the survey as staffers with 8–10 years of experience.

  Virginia South 
Equity partners/owners   $200 $195
Directors $226.25 $215.75
Senior managers $182.50 $150
Managers $154 $149
Senior associates $129.50 $120
Associates $100 $84

 

Benefits

Virginia firms offered health insurance at a lower rate than the South as a whole. Just over two-thirds (68 percent) of Virginia firms offered health insurance as a benefit, although that number was skewed by the 46 percent figure for firms below $500,000 in net client fees. All responding firms with more than $1.5 million in in net client fees offered health insurance as a benefit. Virginia firms offered dental insurance at a significantly higher rate than the rest of the South respondents (44 percent vs. 30 percent).

Those health insurance plans were twice as likely to take the form of a health maintenance organization (HMO) than in other states. One-quarter of Virginia firms (24 percent) used HMOs, compared to 12 percent across the South. Preferred provider organizations (PPO) remain the health-insurance benefit of choice in Virginia (38 percent) and across the South (36 percent).

Here’s how Virginia stacks up with its South competition on other employee benefits:

  Virginia South
Paying for CPE courses 80 percent 90 percent
Professional dues 85 percent 91 percent
Professional licenses 76 percent 88 percent
Retirement plan 80 percent 85 percent

 

Technology

Four out of every five Virginia firms actively maintain a website, compared to 84 percent in the South. Nearly half of all Virginia firms (49 percent) use cloud-based software (50 percent regionally), with 69 percent of Virginia firms using cloud-based remote backup (46 percent regionally) and 34 percent using cloud-based servers (19 percent regionally).

Virginia firms are ahead of the curve on social media, using it at a higher rate than the regional median for business development (43 percent vs. 39 percent) and recruiting staff (24 percent vs. 16 percent). Sixteen percent of Virginia firms use social media to provide timely content/reminders to clients and 32 percent use it to stay connected with existing clients. Just over half of all responding Virginia firms (51 percent) do not promote the use of social media.

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