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Accountants' Hourly Rates Increase, Intuit Says

April 6, 2007 (SmartPros) Hourly rates charged by accountants overall are on the rise, according to the maker of financial software QuickBooks and publisher of ProConnection newsletter.

Intuit's "2007 ProConnection Rates Survey" found that the average rate increases ranged from $1 to $10 per hour. Non-software business consulting and software installation services garnered the highest average hourly rates of $95 and $86 respectively, showing increases of 12 percent and 7 percent. The survey polled more than 1,100 professional accountants. 

The 2007 Intuit rates survey also revealed a wide variation in pricing for fixed-fee services. The practice of offering defined services for a fixed fee, also known as "value pricing," makes it easier for business owners to budget for bookkeeping or other accounting services. For example, for fixed fees in bookkeeping, the highest fees average more than 50 times higher than the lowest fees. In tax preparation, the highest fees across types of returns averaged 80 times more than the lowest fees for the same kinds of returns.  In addition, the survey showed that more than 35 percent of all respondents offered at least one fixed-fee service, which is an increase of about 3 percentage points over last year. 

General bookkeeping was the most common hourly service (81 percent), and telephone consulting was the least common hourly service (57 percent).

For the first time, the survey showed how Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisors' rates compare to those of their peers.  According to the survey, Certified ProAdvisors' average rate for bookkeeping is $60 per hour versus $48 for bookkeepers who are not CPAs or ProAdvisors. The highest hourly rate for bookkeeping is held by CPAs at $71 per hour.

Intuit shares its informal rates survey each year in the ProConnection newsletter and via its Web site. The survey relies on practitioners to volunteer their rates.

"The survey helps accountants have a better idea of what services their peers are offering. It also gives them a peak at industry rates so they remain competitive in the marketplace," said Bill Teague, managing editor of Intuit ProConnection newsletter and sponsor of the survey.

2007 SmartPros Ltd. All rights reserved.

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