Executive Summary

One of the key drivers of success for modern accountants is mastering the management of their practices. In the face of new technologies, regulations, and changing client needs that are reshaping the accounting profession, the old maxim of “what gets managed gets measured” provides a pathway to establishing the certainty businesses need to succeed. Proper practice management is the essential capability every business needs to navigate these changes now and in the future.

Pavilion, provider of industry-leading practice management software, commissioned research to learn how accounting leaders today manage their practices and grow their businesses. The survey was conducted by an independent research firm and included responses from 250 leading accountants using practice management software on how they are managing their practices in 2023.

The key findings of the survey are:

  • Growth is top of mind for most accountants, with 82% wanting to expand beyond traditional accounting and tax services.
  • Accountants are also looking to hire more remote staff and offer more flexible work arrangements. But with this growth come difficulties.
  • The top challenges reported were tracking time and expenses (35%) and attracting and retaining top talent (33%).
  • Tracking time and expenses was also listed as the most important element of running a business.
  • Accountants spend only 55% of their time working with clients and the rest on administrative matters.
  • Most indicated that they would like to spend more time with customers and that their businesses would grow if they had more time with customers.
  • The vast majority of accountants (90%) reported having a positive work-life balance, respondents also stated that, on average, employees stayed with their companies for more than six years, exceeding the national average of 4.1 years.

Manage a company

86% of accountants consider their practice sophisticated when it comes to mastering practice management and only 3% say they are not sophisticated.

The most important elements of running an accounting firm were accurately tracking time and expenses (44%), followed by maintaining secure data and information management (42%), and client interactions and communications ( 39%). Interestingly, the least important item was industry compliance (12%).


When asked what was the most difficult thing about running an accounting firm, the survey found accurate tracking of time and expenses (35%) was the most difficult, followed by attracting and retaining top talent (33%). , maintaining secure data and information management (32%), and workflow automation (30%).

The least challenging items were determining what services to offer (15%) and industry compliance (17%).


customer interactions

Interacting with clients is an important part of any accounting firm. The survey found that more account leaders spend their time meeting with clients (55%) than managing their business operations (45%). However, 85% indicated that they would like to spend more time meeting with customers, and 87% felt their businesses would grow faster if they spent more time with customers.

The majority of account leaders (60%) also felt that their clients were occasionally let down by not spending enough time with them.

companies are growing

Accounting leaders indicated that the top advice to follow for success is to stay current with the latest accounting regulations and standards (44%), focus on providing exceptional customer service (41%), build a strong brand identity and reputation (41%), invest in the right tools and technology (38%), and develop a clear business plan and strategy (38%).


Growth and diversification of offerings are also key to the future of accounting firms. 82% of companies plan to expand their service offerings beyond traditional accounting and bookkeeping services.


Most companies (85%) also expect to hire more remote workers and offer flexible work arrangements in the next 18 months and; Invest more in the professional development and training of your staff to keep up with changes and advancements in the industry. A similar percentage plan to increase their focus on sustainability and environmental responsibility in their businesses. 79% of companies also plan to increase their investment in cybersecurity and data privacy measures.


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They are also planning to: increase their focus on sustainability and environmental responsibility; increase your investment in cybersecurity and data privacy measures; increase the use of artificial intelligence tools and data analysis; and increase investments in automation and machine learning technologies.





Companies are also increasing their marketing budgets with 80 percent of companies anticipating increasing their investment in marketing and branding efforts to differentiate themselves from the competition.


Accounting leaders are also seeking to expand their reach into international markets by offering their services to clients in other countries.


Work-life balance

When asked if they were satisfied with their work-life balance, 90% responded in the affirmative.


The majority of respondents reported working just 40 hours a week (52%), with 17% working 50 hours and only 8% working more than 60 hours a week. Surprisingly, 19% reported working 30 hours or less.


Supporting the positive response to work-life balance, respondents also stated that, on average, employees stayed with their companies for more than six years.

Just for fun

Accountants are not just businesses. Something amazing, just 51% of accountants have seen the movie The Accountant, starring Ben Affleck as a mathematical scholar.

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Possibly even more surprising, 28% of accountants admit that it is difficult for them to calculate the tip at dinner.

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Apparently, accounting conferences are where you want to be…for fun. 51% of accountants say Accounting Conferences are pretty wild after hours.

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Canopy commissioned an independent research firm to survey 250 accounting leaders on how they are growing their practices by 2023. The margin of error for this study is +/- 6.2% with a 95% confidence level.

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