Welcome to the New Era of SMALL CPA Practices

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Is it a new golden age of  ‘small’ CPA firms?

Everyone is taking note of the consolidation of the CPA profession into megafirms as we see major mergers of equals (e.g. Reznick-Cohn, Clifton-Larson). The AICPA showed a decrease in the number CPA firms over the past five years from 47,000 to 43,000.

See also – 21st Century Practice Strategies

But might there be a counter-trend reversing that tide, hidden by the retirement of the baby boomers who own many of those small firms?

Futurists often say that for every major trend, there is often a series of counter trends that move in the opposite direction. We may be seeing that right now in the CPA profession.  Tom Hood executive director and CEO of the Maryland Association of CPAs (MACPA)  thinks so –

From Tom Hood’s CPA Success Blog

Here are three reasons I think we are entering the age of the small CPA firm:

1. Fallout from merger mania as large firms and small practices without succession plans are merging at an ever increasing rate and often starting back up as small firms.

2. Layoffs in the corporate (or business and industry sector) due to the extended recession, which is creating a new small practice focused on providing CFO-for-hire services to small business as former CFOs and controllers are offering their expertise to small businesses instead of just working for one employer.

3. The emergence of small practices with technology-savvy professionals who work anywhere, anytime and are focused on providing higher value to their small to mid-size business clients. The technology is leveling the playing field for small practices.

What do you think? Are we experiencing the age of the small CPA firm?


Sarah Gardiner

All stories by: Sarah Gardiner