Accounting Stats

Accounting Stats image

The importance of properly managed finances in business cannot be overstated — it can make or break a company. Yet, the good old accounting is not what it used to be, with the industry impacted by technological advances more than others. That’s why we’ve prepared these accounting stats to give you some insight into how the sector is currently being reshaped. So, read on to learn the newest trends in accounting and how you can apply them to the benefit of your business.

Accounting Stats (Editor’s Choice)

  • Finance planning problems make 66% of the most common reasons for startup failure.
  • The accounting industry employs more than 3 million people.
  • As an accountant, you can specialize in 7 different careers.
  • We can automate 49% of accounting tasks.
  • 66% of accountants embrace automation.
  • The accounting software market share is projected to double between 2018 and 2026.
  • Financial frauds are the most costly form of occupational fraud.
  • November 10th is International Accounting Day.
  • 15% of the FBI employees are accountants.

General Accounting Industry Statistics

1. Accounting is among the top 10 safest career choices.

Accounting is considered one of the safest industries, in terms of both need and relevance. Some other industries with good prospects to flourish over the next decade include technology, media, real estate, energy, and transportation, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics data, analyzed by Fundera in 2018.


2. In 2020, the number of employees in the accounting industry in the US was an astounding 1.27 million.

Accounting statistics from 2020 revealed the number of accountants and auditors had reached its previous peak from 2012. With the rise in the total number of startups and small businesses, everything adds up. Accountants’ advisory services should be considered at least equally relevant for optimizing your business for your target market.


3. Projections for 2019-2029 signal an average growth of 4% in accounting job positions for the United States.

Another BLS research suggests that the job prospects for the accounting and auditing industry will continue to expand. Demand for accountants in the future is correlated with the industry’s close ties to the economy. Accounting employment statistics point to approximately 125,700 more jobs for the said period.

(U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

4. Finance planning problems make 66% of the most common reasons for startup failure.

You are probably aware that around 90% of startups fail. What you might not know is that poor financial management accounts for the bulk of failures. Unplanned or unexpected costs often lead them to bankruptcy. Some accounting stats state that financial issues are three out of five main reasons why startups fail.

Said categories are:

  • Lack of money for further development (34%)
  • Lack of investors (16%)
  • Cost issues (16%).

(STUME Journals)

finance planning problems causing startup failure

5. There are more than 3 million people employed in the accounting industry.

This number refers to registered members of the International Federation of Accountants. This organization was founded in 1977 in Munich and operates in 130 countries all over the world. Their 5 Standards Boards collect the accounting employment stats and help in the development of the industry, as well as their members. When looking for accounting firms, it’s a good idea to check their standards as a guideline.


6. Accountants can specialize in 7 different careers.

Did you know there are various niche areas in the accounting industry? Most people just think of filing taxes when they think about accountants. An accounting industry analysis separates seven specific types of accounting. This number is not fixed though, and by some other systems of categorization, there are up to 13 types. Accounting statistics, however, point to the following as the most popular:

  • Financial accounting
  • Public accounting
  • Government accounting
  • Forensic accounting
  • Management accounting
  • Tax accounting
  • Internal auditing.

(Accounting Tools)

7. More than 431,000 Certified Public Accountants are registered in the AICPA.

To obtain a CPA license, candidates must pass an exam. There are four sections, and on each, they must have a minimum score of 75. There is a time limit as well because all sections must be completed within 18 months. The sections are:

  • Auditing and Attestation
  • Business Environment and Concepts
  • Financial Accounting and Reporting
  • Regulation.


8. 49% of frauds are discovered by the tips coming from employees, according to accounting fraud statistics.

Almost half the cases of fraud detection were noticed by the company employees. Frauds are in general most commonly detected by tips, with the leading 42.2%. Those tips besides the employees come from customers, the percentage being 21.6.


9. Accounting fraud statistics point that lack of internal controls presents 32.2% of weaknesses.

Certified Fraud Examiners include the three most problematic weakness issues in the same report. The other two were a lack of management review and an override of existing internal controls with 20% and 18.9%.


Small Business Accounting Stats

10. In 2017, 15% of small businesses used accounting software.

According to the results of a survey of over 1,100 small businesses in the US, 15% of small businesses use accounting software as inventory, with this number only expected to grow. Automation processes ease the accountants’ workload and reduce the margin for human error.

(Wasp Barcode)

11. An accountant was ranked number one on the list of professionals of importance to small businesses.

These accounting job statistics say a lot about the importance of the profession in business maintenance and improvement. Accountants cooperate with numerous interested parties, from their clients to government employees. For this reason, their input and expertise can help business owners see the big picture. This further suggests that even with automation processes, the demand for accountants in the future will be substantial.

(Wasp Barcode)

12. 44% of small business owners consider their accountants not proactive enough.

The same source reports some negative feedback as well. The main complaint was that their accountants are more reactive than proactive. Issues that follow are timelines, and that they don’t provide advice. Small business accounting statistics, however, also show that 88% of small business owners are very, or somewhat satisfied with their accountant’s services.

(Wasp Barcode)

13. In 2018, the small business accounting software market share was estimated at $5.4 billion.

Accounting software usage statistics show that the demand for cloud accounting continues to grow for small businesses. The estimated value of $5.4 billion is astounding, considering that the global accounting software market size in the same year was valued at over $11 billion. That means half of it was oriented to small businesses.

(Adroit Market Research)

Technology-Related Accounting Stats

14. We can automate 49% of accounting tasks.

Automation within accounting can have a major impact over the next few years. Using the technology that we have, 49% of tasks in accounting are or can be fully automated. Imagine the power of such a change as it develops further. While some claim that the profession is to become obsolete, it is more likely to evolve and adapt.


15. Just under 60% of large companies use cloud accounting.

Cloud accounting statistics show that some of the technology’s benefits include more storage and easier accessibility for users. But would you be surprised if we told you that companies relying solely on cloud score up to five times more clients? We are not, since, in Accounting Today, you can also find out that 58% of large companies are relying on the cloud.


16. 69% of CFOs still rely on traditional ways of reporting.

Shifting from spreadsheets to cloud and software usage is certainly an advancement for many. How could it then be that accountant statistics show 69% of CFOs still rely on traditional methods?

(Accountancy Age)

17. 38% of businesses haven’t integrated their accounting software with invoicing or payments solutions due to security concerns.

An accounting industry overview from Viewpoint further pointed to several reasons businesses that use accounting software haven’t integrated it with invoicing and payments solutions with security issues prevailing at 38%. It is closely followed by software prices with 35%. Another relevant problem is that 18% of respondents fear the long period required to use the software in question.


18. 66% of accountants embrace automation.

Menial and routine tasks are exactly where human errors are the most likely to happen. Accounting stats show that two-thirds of accountants gladly embrace automation. Companies that use software to their advantage meanwhile lift productivity and morale levels with employees. By largely increasing the speed of workflow, data entry, and categorization, a survey published in the Journal of Accountancy also suggests that the attitude is mostly positive.


19. Only 14% of paper invoices are processed on the day of their arrival.

An accounting industry analysis shows that the evolution within will leave accountants more time for tasks that matter. Bookkeeping statistics show that delays could be avoided by automation of the invoicing processes. Only 14% of paper invoices are processed on the day of their arrival. As the margin for human error is significantly reduced, the possibility of losing or misplacing the invoices also drops.

(Direct Commerce)

20. The accounting software market is projected to double between 2018 and 2026.

Research from 2018 valued the global accounting software market size at $11 billion. The projected value for 2026 is $20.4 billion, meaning the compound annual growth rate stands at 8.02%.

(Fortune Business Insights)

21. Accounting firm statistics show that the main players in the accounting software market come from the United States, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and Germany.

If we analyze the accounting software market share, we can recognize several companies as being the key players. Those are:

  • Oracle
  • The Sage Group Plc
  • Zeta Software LLC
  • Microsoft Corporation
  • Xero Ltd.
  • SAP SE.

(Mordor Intelligence)

22. QuickBooks is the key player in the small business accounting market.

A report from 2020 shows that QuickBooks, ranked among the top expense management tools, has the largest small business accounting software market share. QuickBooks Online is the most used accounting software in the US, with 44% of small businesses using this solution. Second is QuickBooks Self-Employed (16%), closely followed by QuickBooks Desktop (15%). Other popular small business accounting software solutions are Xero (4%), Freshbooks (4%), GoDaddy Bookkeeping (4%), Wave (3%), Sage 50 (2%), and Sage 300 (2%).


The Big 4 Accounting Stats

23. The Big 4 dominate the accounting market.

Have you heard of the leading forces in the accounting, consulting, and auditing services known as the “Big 4”? Those accounting behemoths are in charge of over 80% of audits in the US. They also operate on a global level and are constantly expanding.

We are talking about the following companies, ranked by revenue:

  • Deloitte LLP
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers
  • Ernst & Young

(The Big 4 Accounting Firms)

24. Accounting market stats show that in 2020, the Big 4’s revenue exceeded $157 billion.

Deloitte took the top spot with $47.6 billion, with the US market accounting for nearly half of that amount. PwC made $43.03 billion, followed by EY with $37.2 billion and KPMG with $29.22 billion.


25. Deloitte LLP was voted to have “best employers to work for” by Fortune Magazine numerous times.

Deloitte LLP was voted to have “best employers to work for'' by Fortune Magazine, accounting job statistics show. The firm currently has four subsidiaries that all share the same standards and adhere to the same rules.

(The Big 4 Accounting Firms)

26. PwC was established in 1849 in London.

The company, founded by Samuel Lowell Price, first merged with Holyland & Waterhouse, then, in 1998, a merger between Price Waterhouse and Coopers & Lybrand created PricewaterhouseCoopers.

(The Big 4 Accounting Firms)

27. For the past 10 years, 55-56% of Deloitte employees are male.

When it comes to the gender of Deloitte employees, the situation is not changing much. They have been distributed in a way that male employees have been prevailing throughout the decade. Years 2012, 2013, 2016, and 2020 show results of 55%, while the rest of 56%.


Little-Known Accounting Stats & Facts

28. Circa 15% of the FBI employees are accountants.

Did you know that of all the FBI staff, 15 percent are accountants? First, you can be a “regular” accountant, dealing with financial administration. And if you want to deal with more challenging issues, you can pursue a career in forensic accounting. When the Bureau was established in 1908, 12 out of its 34 employees at a time were accountants (bank examiners, to be precise).


29. Al Capone was sent to Alcatraz (and the U.S. Penitentiary in Atlanta) on charges of tax evasion.

One of the many interesting facts about accountants involves the notorious Scarface case. After all the crimes involving gangs, violence, and prohibited substances, the case was solved by federal Treasury agents. Al Capone was finally convicted to 11 years in federal prison. Also, he had to pay a substantial fine, as well as back taxes plus interest. He pled guilty to tax evasion and prohibition charges. Following the money paid off.


30. November 10th is celebrated as International Accounting Day.

Accounting industry statistics show the first official celebration was in 1972. But the actual date is referring to Luca Pacioli, “the father of modern accounting”. His double-entry bookkeeping system from 1494 was published in Venice on that date, and therefore symbolically chosen. His famous system was one of five sections in the book titled “Everything About Arithmetic, Geometry, and Proportion.”

(National Today)

31. Interesting facts about accountants show that Rolling Stones lead singer Mick Jagger studied accounting.

And he’s not the only one either. Other celebrities who studied accounting include Janet Jackson, Bob Newhart, Venus Williams, and John Grisham.


32. The first commercial record-keeping comes from Ancient Mesopotamia.

In the paper titled “The Significance of Ancient Mesopotamia in Accounting History”, we can find out more about the first known roots of accounting. Almost everything we know about Mesopotamian history comes from the records on the found clay tablets. Tablets were used as a system of noting and tracking the exchange of goods, mostly between temples.

(Accounting Information)

Global Accountants Statistics

33. Accountants in Europe have their organization operating within the International Federation of Accountants.

Accountancy Europe is the name of the organization, registered in the EU Transparency Register. They unite a million qualified accountants from 35 countries. The organization was established in January 1987, as two previously existing bodies merged. They regulate and monitor adherence to standards, as well as developing the industry rules according to the latest trends.

(Accountancy Europe)

34. Multinational Corporations from all over the world choose Malaysia to be their finance hub.

Accounting statistics in Malaysia show the number of registered accountants in 2018 was over 33,000. The Malaysian Institute of Accountants is trying to offer world-class services, and enhance that number.


35. 54% of accountants in Malaysia are women.

According to the Malaysian Institute of Accountants, more than half of accountants are female. Current data from an accounting industry overview on that market state there are around 22,000 female accountants. On the other hand, the total number of male accountants is just over 17,000. Public accounting stats meanwhile show that the country also has the highest number of Chartered Public Accountants among the ASEAN countries.


36. Besides the Big 4, only two other accounting firms have a market share in Australia.

Six accounting companies have a market share Down Under. The first four are members of the Big 4. BDO Australia Limited, as well as Findex Group Limited, are the other two on the list.

(IBIS World)

37. Xero is the most popular software for small businesses in Australia.

Xero is a company from New Zealand that was founded in 2006. As different markets have different tax and payroll systems, it adds up that Xero is a leader in Australia. Accounting software usage statistics show that Xero holds circa 47% of the market share. MYOB is a local Australian software that holds second place with 41%.


38. In 2019, the total revenue of accounting services in Canada peaked at C$21.41 billion.

Then, looking at how much individuals make, the average base salary for a CPA in the country ranges between C$44,000 and C$100,000, according to accounting statistics for Canada.

(Statista, PayScale)

39. The first female cabinet minister of Canada was an accountant.

Back in 1975, Ellen Fairclough was elected to the position. This happened under the Progressive Conservative government. She was a leading force in the women’s rights movement and had been holding a federal seat since 1950.

(Canadian Accountant)

40. In 2020, the District of Columbia was the highest paying state in the United States for accountants.

The latest accounting statistics for the US market reveal the list of annual wages by the states. The state of District of Columbia holds first place with an average annual income of $110,140. New York is second with a yearly mean wage of $101,440, followed by New Jersey ($96,260), Massachusetts ($88,830), and California ($88,130).


Wrapping It Up

The world is rapidly evolving, and with the rise of technology, the future is already here. The accounting profession is changing accordingly, and we ought to adapt to the latest trends to stay relevant. By analyzing the accounting stats we’ve mentioned, it is safe to conclude the accounting industry is here to stay and flourish. The nature of the position will become more complex and strategic, as AI and automation can already deal with data entry and other repetitive tasks. By embracing how technology is shaping the world, the outlook for online business accountants seems bright.

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