However, the bi-annual survey, conducted by the American Institute of CPAs' Private Companies Practice Section and Texas Society of CPAs found fee growth has not returned to pre-recession levels. Conducted May through August, the survey sought responses from almost 1,750 firms.
The survey reported a pullback in the category net remaining for owner—revenue minus expenses before partner-related compensation. That contrasted with an increase in the category in 2012. The sponsors concluded owners may be building equity to give themselves options.
"We're seeing many firms take conservative steps to ensure the sustainability of their organizations," said Mark Koziel, CPA, CGMA, the AICPA's vice president of firm services and global alliances." He said succession planning, budgeting for new hires, merger strategy and hedging against uncertainty all play a factor in the decision not to take out greater profit.
Professional salaries grew by 6.9 percent from the 2012 for the smallest practice and represent slightly more than 16 percent of net client fees. Organizations with revenue above $200,t000 to $750,000 annual had smaller increases and the largest firms reported no growth in professional salary expense.