cpa hourly billing rates

cpa hourly billing rates

We offer competitive pricing and billing options in our valuable tax compliance service.

Our tax compliance service is composed of consulting, planning, accounting, and tax preparation. Clients work with us before year-end on tax planning, consult with us about tax questions throughout the year, enlist our help in reconciling trade accounting, and engage our CPA firm to prepare income tax returns.

We are pleased to offer our 2018 Service Fee Schedule for calculating the minimum price for each tax form we prepare. Our invoice will also include hourly billing for other work including planning, consulting, and accounting. Feel free to talk to your assigned CPA about it.

We charge clients based on the actual billable time spent on their file, including all tax compliance work, consultations, research, phone calls, e-mails, tax preparation, and a review of the work by another CPA. Consulting time includes time with the client directly as well as between our professionals.

Other CPA firms may charge you for time spent researching trader tax laws. Not us. Many CPA firms buy our trader tax guides and consult with us on trader tax issues. Because our professionals already know the trader tax laws inside and out, you can expect to receive excellent tax compliance results for as little time spent as possible. Since 1983, our firm has worked with traders all around the country, so we have this process down to a science.

We assign different standard hourly billing rates to each of our professionals based on their level of experience and value added. We set our prices to be competitive in a national marketplace. We could charge much higher rates for many of our professionals, but we don’t. Our clients expect reasonable pricing, and that’s what they receive.

The add-on costs for our trader files are nominal — usually between $60 and $90. They include a tax return software processing or license fee. We e-file most tax returns, so we save money on shipping (unless you prefer to paper file; in that case, we add the cost to your account).

If you have any questions or would like a quote, please send us a confidential email at [email protected] Tell us about your tax file.

Thank you for placing your trust in us,

Robert A. Green, CPA and Darren L. Neuschwander, CPA

All invoices are payable before delivery

Upon the completion of your tax return, we will send you a PDF of the entire tax return or substantial excerpts with a watermark on all pages indicating you should not file that PDF. After your approval, we will present our final invoice. We require credit card payment via our online store before delivery of your completed tax returns. We also offer an option to pay via PayPal.

We often send clients interim invoices before completion if the unbilled time materially exceeds the initial payment. Interim invoices are due on receipt; the job may be put on hold until payment is received. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation.

We require a partial payment when you sign up for our tax compliance services each year. This represents our minimum price and is a prepayment applied against the total; it’s not an extra charge of any kind. Expect a balance due when we complete the engagement.

Before we commence our tax compliance services, we will email you an engagement letter via EchoSign, a secure service. The letter spells out the scope of our engagement, the work to be done, partial payment, refund conditions, pricing terms, and our limited responsibilities as “tax preparers."

If you'd like us to stop working on your file, you're responsible for payment of all our time and expenses incurred until the termination date. You’re required to pay charges incurred over the partial payment. If the amount is less than your credit, we will refund the unused payment less a nominal charge.

Individual, Corporate, & LLC/Partnerships. I'm wondering what the rate would be for a young proprietor CPA, I realize the rates won't be as high as the partners of actual firms yet not as low as the staff of firms.

I believe the rate of 125-150 per hour was because the staff could leverage off of the experience of the other more experienced members in the firm. At other accounting firms, it is likely much higher. Even at $125 per hour, if you are able to bill out half the full-time hours per year, that is 1040hr * $125 = $130,000. In the firm I worked at, the hourly rate was only for consulting projects (audit, vda, planning). All compliance was covered by a flat fee and charge per return filed. This was for SUT, perhaps it is different for Income tax. In your previous job, was everything billed hourly?

I am a senior at a mid sized firm (Top 25) in the east coast. I work with C-corps, S-corps, partnerships, and individuals.

We bill $190/hr for staff, $260/hr for seniors, and $360/hr for managers if that helps at all. Sometimes we discount the rates to certain clients at about 80% of the standard billing rate. Staff usually get senior after 1.5-2.5 years. Time between senior to manager varies on CPA designation and competency.

Becker for REG and BEC

I worked at two CPA firms prior to this, both for income tax. The billing rates for staff and partner were comparable to what you were saying. I was $120/hr for tax prep and $200/hr for cost segregation services, but I'm not doing cost seg anymore. Partners were all $250/hr. I'm thinking just throwing out there $150/hr and see who bites. If people eat it up then raise it to maybe $175/hr and if they are shy I could even drop it. I'm in the building stage so I'm also considering offering fixed fees until I have a real practice going. I'm just having a hard time gauging what I should bill out to compensate for my lack of experience. If I say $250/hr, clients will expect the knowledge of that partner-level CPA with 20+ years experience, which I just don't have yet.

@noche – the firms I worked for were small (less than 25 employees) and most of our clients were small businesses and high net worth individuals, which is the same type of client I am looking to pick up as a proprietor. I think the top 25 firms' billing rates are a little out of my league – $360/hr for managers, wow!

I know a firm in Missouri who bills $60 per hour for tax prep. Be careful. The firm was small, with 3 CPA partners and a staff of maybe 20. It also depends on where you are and the cost of living. It is not totally based on experience and credentials. If people don’t have $150 to pay, it doesn’t matter how experienced you are in tax.

There are enough critics. Be an encourager

Ah that makes sense. Different markets. Best wishes for the start of your proprietorship!

Becker for REG and BEC

You'll never convince a client you're worth it until you convince yourself.

Billing rates are arbitrary…$100/hour … $500/hour … $250/hour ….

1) How much you want to make

2) How much you want to work

Back into the math.

Don't assume that your average client has ANY idea what partners make or what they do.

All they care about is how much value you can bring them by effective tax planning and tax prep.

If you do a good job for them – you'll pay for yourself and then some.

It's up to you to walk them through that.

Part of the reason you can do a higher bill rate with a higher work level is that the person knows what they're doing and can fly through a return. If you're a sole prop without employees, then you can't bill out at the partner rate, cause no partner does the data entry through to the sign-off, unless their customer knows they're paying a premium for it. So, I'd try to think of it as a rate for my time spent prepping that's at a more entry-level rate, a rate for my time reviewing that's a bit higher, and then figure the percentages and determine a rate from that. If you'd bill an entry-level person who enters the tax data at $100/hr, and you figure that's 80% of the time, and you'd bill a partner at $200/hr and that's 20% of the time, then as a sole prop, I'd say $100×0.80 + $200×0.20 = $120 = sole prop hourly rate. (It's been too long since I've done taxes for me to know what percentages would go to review and prep, but that's just to be an example.)

Also…if I went to someone who was new, and lower experience, I would expect an equivalently lower rate. I'd also be a little hesitant about paying them by the hour, since they might have to spend 10 hours looking up something that the guy down the street who is more experienced and charges more per hour could find in 10 minutes. So…they might be happy to pay $150 for their 30-minute return, but not to pay you $300/hr for their 30-minute return. Especially as a sole prop, I'd be much more a fan of pricing by the form or by the return, so that you can make your money without them knowing the hourly rate. At least in non-tax fields (my dad was a small business owner in a couple different industries much of my childhood), you can make a LOT more if you're charging by job than by hour…and as the new guy on the block, I'd imagine that by the job will go over a lot easier with your clients. They're not taking the risk of you being slow, and they're not seeing how much they're actually paying you.

P. S. This is referring to the tax prep piece and all covered services (for example, if you'll assist clients with audits for free). Things outside of that – extensive tax planning etc. – would need a different pricing structure, but I'd still try to price by the job. “Mr. Smith, for $xxxx per year, I can provide you with year-round tax planning as well as complete your tax return”. It might take some time in the industry to know estimated hours to structure pricing for tax consulting, so maybe that's hourly to start with, but the returns I'd keep by the project if at all possible.

Great advice from all of you, thank you guys. I'm thinking the billable rate might be something that gets incorporated once I actually have a “practice”. Lilla made a good point that it will take some time in industry to know how many hours per year I am billable, and then I can determine how much money I want to make and figure out x rate at y hours to hit the revenues I want.

So I've had 4 business clients contact me, mainly S-Corps. What I've been telling them is that if they send me their files, I'll take a look and give them a quote based on estimated time spent. Basically I'll let them know what they are going to owe me before they owe me anything. I just think it is going to be really tricky to set a billable rate at this point because I don't have much of an idea of how many hours I'll actually be billing. It may take a few cycles and some performance to evaluate before I can fine-tune that.

I suggest having a base rate, then bill hours after the initial rate is paid if you are doing tax. Some people may expect too much for too little if you are new, and a base rate lets them know up front that you know what you are worth. That will weed out a lot of non-paying customers. Starting a business is tough, but after the initial inception, it gets better. You just have to be diligent. Good luck!

There are enough critics. Be an encourager

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

Value Pricing - A New Way to Run Your Practice - for CPAs, Accountants, Bookkeepers, Consultants

Are you an accountant, CPA, bookkeeper, QuickBooks ProAdvisor or consultant with some clients who think your hourly billing rate is to high? Do you want to improve your profitability and make more money? Then, you need to join the growing trend for accounting professionals and implement value pricing.

Benefits of value pricing for accountants and clients

Steps to implement value pricing

How to create packages of standard services

Implementing the use of wholesale pricing for QuickBooks Online

How to determine price levels or ranges

Results from Intuit's 2013 Average Billing Rate Survey

How to identify initial clients to convert to value pricing

The importance of a clearly defined engagement letter

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How Much Does a CPA Cost? | Guide to CPA Fees & CPA Fee Schedule

Overview: CPA Fees | How Much a CPA Costs (Prices, Rates Per Hour, Fee Schedule)

Taking care of your personal and business accounting needs is a serious matter. This is why most individuals prefer to entrust their finances to a certified public accountant (CPA).

However, while many consumers and businesses could benefit from the services of a CPA, many are scared off by the potential cost of a CPA.

At AdvisoryHQ, we’ve noticed a heightened interest regarding CPA fees and the average CPA hourly rate. To help our readers better understand the cost, we’ve put together this review to address key questions consumers are asking:

  • How much does a CPA cost?
  • How much does a CPA charge per hour?
  • How much does a CPA charge to do taxes?

The CPA fees associated with the services provided are of great interest to both individuals interested in hiring a CPA and to professionals who work in the industry. To help aspiring CPAs understand what their services are worth, we will review examples of a typical CPA cost and a CPA fee schedule to help your business pricing align with the market.

No matter why you might be interested in the cost of a CPA, our review will give you the information you need to know to avoid being overcharged.

This question is the most pressing one on everyone’s mind: how much does a CPA cost? Unfortunately, this question cannot be answered simply.

The cost of a CPA depends largely on the CPA fee schedule, which each individual certified public accountant will determine for themselves. In our review, we are going to take a closer look at the two primary payment methods used by CPAs to determine exactly how much a CPA costs.

Most commonly, CPA fees are determined on an hourly basis. Surveys conducted by Intuit (the company behind the popular accounting software, Quickbooks) concluded that 66 percent of accounting professionals bill by the hour.

While other types of accounting professionals were also included in their survey (tax accountants, CMAs, certified ProAdvisors, and bookkeepers), 26 percent of respondents were labeled as CPAs.

Keep in mind that the CPA rates per hour can vary pretty drastically from region to region. How much do CPAs charge in specific areas? Areas with higher costs of living, such as New York or California, may see a higher CPA cost per hour than those in the Midwest or Southeast.

Additionally, the average CPA hourly rate may fluctuate depending on the level of experience and training that a certified public accountant has.

By definition, a licensed CPA already has more education than some other accountants do, with a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and a passing grade on the CPA exam. They must also maintain continuing education credit to keep their license current.

How much does a CPA cost? The number will be differ depending on a number of factors, but in the upcoming section, we will take a look at CPA rates per hour and examples of a possible CPA fee schedule.

How Much Does a CPA Charge Per Hour?

How much do CPAs charge? Now that you understand exactly which factors can influence the CPA rates per hour, it’s time to take a more in-depth look at how much CPAs charge their clients around the United States.

Plan on spending anywhere from $30 to $300 per hour. Trying to figure out what the difference is between the services you receive for $30 per hour versus the $300 CPA fees? Let’s look at the breakdown of CPA rates per hour.

The national hourly rate data provided for the average CPA hourly rate comes in just slightly under $30 per hour ($29.61).

Because of the additional education and certification that a CPA holds, they are able to command a higher rate than a general accountant, whose median hourly rate is only $22.10 (to compare additional accounting professionals’ salaries to that of a certified public accountant, take a look at the chart above).

Consumers will typically hire certified public accountants because they value the additional education and insight that the CPA title is supposed to lend to professionals. This education and experience can command a higher price than a standard accountant without their license.

How much more do CPAs charge for their experience? Within each firm, there are separate CPA rates per hour in place depending on the overall income of the firm as well as the number of employees.

CPA juniors and seniors find their average CPA hourly rate falling somewhere between $100 and $150 per hour. Seniors tend to make on average approximately $10 to $20 more per hour than their junior counterparts do.

How much does a CPA cost when they’re the owner of the firm? It’s a pretty hefty price difference.

An owner’s CPA cost per hour can range from $172 for firms that gross less than $1 million each year to $300 per hour for firms that gross more than $20 million each year. CPA owners can also make significaFntly more than non-CPA owners with a $20 to $100 per hour price difference between the two (for more comparisons, see the chart below).

As you can see from the above examples, the CPA rates per hour vary depending on seniority within the company as well as the size of the firm itself. Smaller firms with lower gross earnings each year may charge an average CPA hourly rate between $30 and $50 per hour, depending on the tasks for which you hired them.

One of the biggest tasks for which consumers and businesses alike will seek out a certified public accountant is tax preparation. As the fiscal year comes to a close, many individuals find themselves wondering, “How much does a CPA charge to do taxes?”

This is a legitimate concern, right along with the CPA cost per hour. In our review here at AdvisoryHQ, we’re going to break down what you can expect to pay next tax season in CPA tax preparation fees.

Your CPA fees will depend on the level of complexity involved in your unique tax situation. The National Society of Accountants reported the following average CPA tax preparation fees from the previous year:

  • Form 1040 with state return and no itemized deductions – $176
  • Form 1040 with state return and Schedule A – $273
  • Form 1040 with state return, Schedule A, and Schedule C – $457

Alternatively, you can opt to have your taxes filed by one of the larger, well-known companies that advertise around tax season for approximately $150-$260.

Keep in mind that professionals hired by companies such as H&R Block or Liberty Tax Service are not always licensed CPAs and may not have extensive accounting backgrounds. While the CPA fee schedule has the potential to cost more than one of these options, you may find that you save more on your taxes by entrusting them to a certified public accountant.

How much does a CPA charge to do taxes if you have a situation that is slightly out of the norm? You might be surprised at how affordable it can be to hire a professional to prepare your taxes this year.

The IRS assembled some of the numbers from the National Society of Accountants to give you a better idea of what you could be looking at in CPA fees.

What other CPA fees might you incur when it comes time to prepare your taxes? Take a look at this average CPA fee schedule from CBS News featuring common occurrences that cost consumers extra come tax time.

  • Disorganized or incomplete information – $114
  • Providing information later than requested – $93
  • Expediting a return – $88
  • Filing for an extension – $42

The cost of a CPA preparing your taxes can differ not only based on the experience, location, and size of the firm you hire, but it can also differ based on the situation you find yourself in. If you’ve been wondering how much a CPA is for when tax season rolls around, this should give you a good overall picture.

How Much Do CPAs Charge When Work Is Not Billed Hourly?

Now that you’re armed with information regarding how much CPAs charge per hour, it’s time to take a look at instances where CPA fees may not be billed hourly.

As with accountants who specialize in routine monthly services such as bookkeeping or payroll, certified public accountants may encounter routine situations which make more sense to bill based on a fixed-fee or a flat-rate system.

Certainly, some certified public accountants can also manage the daily influx of activity with your personal or business finances. How much does a CPA cost above another accountant?

You should be paying slightly more than you would to an unlicensed accountant, but you could expect to pay a fixed-fee for payroll, making deposits, managing your accounting software, or handling your state sales tax.

Services that are rendered regularly on an ongoing basis are typically billed this way to avoid surprises each month for the clients and to provide stability since the firm will know exactly how much CPAs charge for certain items.

How should you evaluate what these fixed-fee services should cost? Well, you first need to ask how much does a CPA charge per hour?

Based on the section above, you should have a good idea of what the average CPA fees should be based on the firm, location, and experience of your CPA. Inquire approximately how many hours they believe the work you enlist them for should take and see if the number is reasonable.

How much does a CPA cost for tax preparation? This is another scenario where most CPA fees will come in the form of a flat rate for each individual filing.

While you may still find CPAs who will charge an hourly fee, many will charge set rates for specific income and tax situations based on the IRS guidelines for estimated times to complete each form.

How much do CPAs charge to do taxes? Our detailed review of what you can expect to pay in CPA fees covers this exact scenario in the upcoming section.

Conclusion: How Much Is a CPA?

While determining CPA fees for each individual scenario isn’t an exact science, we can come up with rough approximations for the average CPA rates per hour. This can be a difficult situation to process because CPA fees do vary depending on your location, the firm you select, and the task you hire them for.

However, our average cost of a CPA should give you a starting point when it comes to answering the question, “How much does a CPA cost?”

CPA tax preparation fees are even more difficult to delve into because of the complexity of each unique situations and filing need. For the most basic situations, the average CPA fee schedule listed above should give you a good grip on whether your new CPA is charging fair CPA rates per hour.

Don’t forget that while our average CPA hourly rate review can provide an excellent introduction into understanding how much a CPA is, in order to get the most realistic estimate for your financial situation, you should contact a local CPA directly for their CPA fees.

Reasonable efforts have been made to present accurate information, however all info is presented without warranty. Review AdvisoryHQ’s Terms for details. Also review each firm’s site for the most updated data, rates and info.

Note: Firms and products, including the one(s) reviewed above, may be our affiliates. Click to view our advertiser disclosures.

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