By Raj Vardhman | March 5, 2020 | 0 Comments

33+ Amazing Accounting Statistics [2020 Edition]

Accounting is one of those professions that very few individuals are equipped to do. But it’s also one many people need.

At least it has been for a long time.

But with the world leaning towards a more digital approach of doing anything and everything, do accountants still have a place in it?

The answer to this question can be found in these accounting statistics.

Let’s dive right in.

Fascinating Accounting Statistics (Editor’s Choice)

  • 1.96 million people work in the accounting industry.
  • Senior forensic accountants can earn upwards of $150,000.
  • There are 1,424,000 unfilled accounting positions.
  • Almost 75% of accounting tasks can be automated with accounting software.
  • Small business rank accountants as the no.1 most important profession to their business.
  • 67% of accountants prefer cloud accounting.
  • By 2026, the global market for accounting software will be valued at $11.8 billion.
  • Using accounts payable software can save you an hour a day.

General Accounting Statistics

Want to know how technology impacts the accounting industry? And what’s the state of the industry? That’s what these stats are here for.

1. Technology poses the threat of replacing 94% of accountants and auditors. 

(Source: Accounting Today)

Yikes! That’s a pretty big percentage. In addition to this, technology threatens to replace 99% of tax preparers, 98% of bookkeepers & auditing clerks, and 97% of payroll and timekeeping clerks. 

2. Accountants only handle 25% of self-employed people’s accounting tasks.

(Source: Accountancy Age)

So who handles the remaining 75% of tasks? Well, a whopping 72% of self-employed people do their own accounting. Additionally, 2% ask family and friends for help, and 1% seek the assistance of a mysterious “other person.”

3. $148.24 billion was generated in the US in 2018 by just four companies. 

(Source: Statista)

Any guesses as to which four companies these are? That’s right – KPMG, PWC, EY, and Deloitte.

4. 83% of accountants feel clients are more demanding these days.

(Source: Sage)

The vast majority of accountants say that their clients are more demanding and expect more from them than they did five years ago.

But how can accountants keep up with the increased demand while remaining relevant? 

It’s simple: 

They need to embrace technology. 

Cloud Accounting Adoption Rate

What is the cloud accounting adoption rate amongst accountants? Are they hopping aboard, or have they completely missed the train on this one?

Let’s find out!

5. 94% of accountants have adopted cloud accounting. 

(Source: Flexera)

Research on cloud accounting software reveals that almost ALL accountants are adopting cloud solutions. The public cloud accounting adoption rate is 91%, while the private one is 72%

6. 67% of accountants prefer cloud accounting. 

(Source: FLeXi)

With such an impressive adoption rate it’s no surprise that so many accountants are trying it out for themselves. What is surprising is that two-thirds of accountants prefer cloud accounting over more traditional systems

But why do so many accountants prefer cloud accounting? We’ll let these cloud accounting statistics answer that question for you. 

7. Businesses that use cloud accounting systems have 5 x more customers than businesses that don’t.

(Source: Xero)

Cloud accounting statistics show that businesses that utilize cloud accounting systems add five times the amount of customers to their customer base that traditional firms do. Not double the amount of customers. Not triple the amount of customers. But five times the amount of customers! 

This is huge!


8. By 2023, the cloud accounting market share is predicted to increase by as much as $4.25 billion

(Source: Finances Online)

People take comfort in knowing that a system or solution isn’t going anywhere. Considering that the cloud accounting market share is expected to increase by up to $4.25 billion by 2023, we think it’s safe to say this type of platform isn’t going anywhere. 

Small Business Accounting Statistics

Small to medium businesses make up 99% of global businesses. Many accounting firms are technically small businesses themselves! So, let’s find out what small businesses think about accounting by dissecting these small business accounting statistics

9. Small businesses rank accountants as the most important professionals for their business.

(Source: Wasp Barcode Technologies) 

When asked to rank professionals in order of importance to their business, the majority of small businesses ranked accountants as number one. After accountants came attorneys, bankers, insurance agents, technology firms, and staffing service–in that order. 

But that’s not to say that small business owners are totally happy with their accountants. 

Small businesses’ biggest complaint?

10.  44% feel their accountants are more reactive than proactive.

(Source: Wasp Barcode Technologies)

Across small businesses of different sizes, the complaints remain the same. What’s more, 36% of small businesses have timeline issues, 32% don’t get enough guidance, 29% feel their accountants don’t provide advice, and 23.6% feel their accountants don’t educate them.  

So, if you’re looking to drum up more business from your small business clients it’s worth evaluating those areas, identifying where you may be falling short, and improving in those areas. 

11. 60% of small business owners feel they aren’t very knowledgeable when it comes to finances and accounting

(Source: Wasp Barcode Technologies)

By their own admission, just over 60% of small business owners aren’t very knowledgeable when it comes to the finance and accounting aspect of their business

This stat makes our next stat quite a surprise: 

12. 64.4% of small business owners make use of accounting software. 

(Source: Statista)

More than half of all small business owners make use of accounting software instead of enlisting the help of qualified accountants to aid them in their business’s accounting tasks. 

Accounts Payable Statistics

Accounts payable is a vitally important segment of the accountancy world. But are there any interesting accounts payable statistics out there? 

As you’re about to find out, yes, there certainly are. 

13. In the UK alone, there are 70,000 people that work in accounts payable.

(Source: AP Association)

More than 70,000 people who live or work in the UK publicly display that they’re employed in an accounts payable. However, the real amount is closer to 250,000 at any given time. 

14. Accounts payable automation software pays for itself within 6 to 18 months.

(Source: CapActix) 

Sure, accounts payable automation can be a significant investment. Especially to the small business owner or a one-man show. But this investment is worth it, as it pays for itself within 6 to 18 months

15. Those who use accounts payable automation software save an average of one hour per day. 

(Source: MineralTree)

You know the saying “there’s not enough hours in a day”? Well, by using accounts payable automation software to capture invoices and process payments, you save time every day.  

16. Accounts payable automation software can save you $16 or more per invoice

(Source: Vanguard Systems)

Depending on your company size, accounts payable automation software can save you $16 or more per invoice. While this may not sound like a lot, consider how many invoices need processing and the fact that it can take more than 5 whole days for an invoice to reach accounts payable. That’s a lot of potential savings in both time and money. 

Forensic Accounting Statistics

For some unknown reason, accounting has earned itself a rep for being a boring industry–but some sectors are downright exciting. These forensic accounting statistics are filled with accounting fraud statistics, forensic accountant earnings and some juicy inside information that is far from boring. 

17. There are 26,074 forensic accountants in the US.

(Source: IBISWorld)

In the US alone, there are 26,074 forensic accountants and 5,162 businesses in this field. The majority of forensic accountancy businesses are controlled by Deloitte, KPMG, PriceWaterhouseCoopers and EY. 

18. Forensic accountants’ salaries start at around $50,000


The starting salary for a forensic accountant in the US is around the $50,000 mark. Senior forensic accountants can earn upwards of $150,000. One thing is for sure, we’re in the wrong industry. 

But why do forensic accountants get paid so much?

This is why:

19. Anti-fraud experts estimate $3.7 trillion of revenue is lost every year

(Source: QuickBooks)

An organization typically loses around 5% of revenues on a yearly basis. That’s approximately $3.7 trillion. Money aside, fraud also results in low employee morale, decreased productivity, and tarnished reputations. 

20. 40% of cases discovered by forensic accountants aren’t reported.

(Source: Maryville University)

What we hear about forensic accounts is impressive, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg as 40% of cases aren’t even publicly reported. Fear of bad publicity is the main reason for this. 

Accounting Employment Statistics

Accounting job statistics reveal a whole lot about the state of the accounting industry. We’re going to find out what some of these revelations are.

21. The accounting workforce is made up of 1.96 million people… 

(Source: Data USA)

But not all of those accountants are actually working as accountants. The fields of payroll services, bookkeeping, tax preparation, construction, banking and insurance sectors also employ qualified accountants.

22. …of that 1.96 million, 1.2 million are women. 

(Source: Data USA)

Accounting staff employment by gender differs around the world, but in the friendly battle between men vs women in accounting, women are crushing the numbers. 1.2 million women and 767,000 men make up the accounting workforce. Even so, the average male salary is $97,939 while the average female salary is $66,432.

What’s up with that?

23. 74.8% of accountants are white.

(Source: Data USA)

Caucasians make up the bulk of accountants, with a whopping 74.8% of accountants falling into this ethnicity. Second up are black people who represent 12.1% of accountants and 4.9% of accountants identify as Asian.

24. The 2018 median pay of accountants was $70,500.

(Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics)

According to accounting industry statistics, 2018 was a pretty good year to be employed as an accountant. The median pay for accountants was $70,500 per year or $33.89 per hour. Accountants clearly make a pretty penny.

25. There are 1,424,000 accounting jobs available in the US.

(Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics)

There’s a bit of a shortage of professionals, accounting labor statistics reveal. At the time of writing, there are 1,424,000 unfilled accounting positions. However, employment is expected to grow by 6% from 2018 to 2028.

Accounting Software Usage Statistics

We know that small businesses turn to accounting software more than they turn to actual accountants.

But what about the rest of the world?

Here are a few accounting software usage statistics that should clear things up.

26. Almost 75% of accounting tasks can be automated with accounting software

(Source: Medium)

Accounting, as you can imagine, takes a large amount of time and skill to get right. US accounting service statistics show that almost 75% of accounting tasks can be automated by using software

27. Intuit QuickBooks is the most well-known accounting software, with 70.2% of business owners familiar with it

(Source: Statista)

Regardless of whether they know Intuit QuickBooks by name alone or if they are or have been users of the software, about seven in ten business owners are familiar with the software brand. In comparison, the next most well-known accounting software brand (Paychex Accounting Online) is familiar to only 25% of business owners.

28. In less than 6 years, the global accounting software market will be valued at $11.8 billion

(Source: Accounting Today)

By 2026, the global market for accounting software will be valued at close to $12 billion, which means it’s growing at an expansion rate of 8.6% every year. The accounting stats 2019 brought with it revealed that the market was valued at $5.7 billion.

29. 38% of businesses that don’t use accounting software say it’s because they’re scared it’s not secure

(Source: Finances Online)

For all of those who make use of accounting software, there are many that do not. The top reasons for not using accounting software include: may not be secure (38% of businesses), is too expensive (35%), and it is generally too complicated to learn (18%).

Accounting Services Trends

What did 2019 reveal about these trends? And what lies ahead for this industry? Your guess is as good as ours.

Just kidding! We are in the business of stats and facts, not the guessing game. 

30. Technology literacy is the top additional skill accountants need to have in today’s day and age

(Source: Sage)

A knack for numbers and an eye for detail aren’t the only skills accountants need to succeed in this day and age. 

Check this out:

Technology literacy (57%), relationship building (46%), business advisory (44%), experience in a specific industry (43%), and project management (36%) are all vital skills a 21st-century accountant must possess. More accountants are studying further to keep up with these demands and ensure their skillset remains valid. 

31. Accounting and bookkeeping are an accountant firm’s top service, with 79% of them providing this. 

(Source: Sage)

Accounting firms are in high demand for these services: 79% accounting and bookkeeping, 25% payroll, 24% tax, 20% compliance, 17% business advisory, 15% assurance and audit and 5% act as outsourced CFOs

32. 29% of automated technology is used in accounting.

(Source: Finances Online)

Accounting automation statistics are quick to point out that 29% of automated technology is applied to and in the accounting industry.

33. 92% of accountants are not future ready.

(Source: AICPA)

What do all of these trends mean for the future of accountants? While relatively confident there will always be a need for their skills, the overwhelming majority of accountants feel they’re not future ready.

Wrap Up

So, what have these accounting statistics revealed? Overall, as long as accountants continue to embrace the technology that has been designed to make their lives easier, they’ll always have a place in our world.

Key takeaway:

It seems to be a very real case of adapting or getting left behind. Let’s hope our accounting buddies pick the former. 


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