Looking for the most recent accounting, e-invoicing and bookkeeping statistics? Here’s a useful list of the most recent figures that will look great in your business presentations or just to share with your colleagues and clients to help them better understand today’s bookkeeping landscape.

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Bookkeeping statistics help you keep an eye on the market

One of the world’s oldest industries, accounting by nature dislikes rapid changes. But new technologies, such as cloud accounting, present an excellent opportunity to make tax preparation, payroll, data entry, invoicing, and bookkeeping faster and more efficient.

1. 60-85% of all invoices in the UK were issued on paper in 2016

According to the EU laws, paperless B2B transactions are allowed meaning that companies may issue and email e-invoices in PDFs or image files. However, according to the Billentis E-Invoicing Report for 2016, as much as 60-85% of invoices in the EU5 (Italy, France, Germany, Spain, UK) were issued on paper.

This figure is even higher for Central European countries, such as the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland, where paper invoices are used in more than 85% of transactions.

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2. More than 11 billion receipts are printed in the UK each year

While businesses can go paperless regarding B2B transactions, handing paper receipts to non-business customers is still very common.

The Huffington Post reported in 2013 that 950 litres of oil, 10 million trees and 1 billion gallons of water are used each year for creating paper receipts in the USA alone. In the UK, there are 11 billion receipts printed every year.

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3. 45% of consumers would like to receive digital copies of their receipts

According to research carried out for Bronto Software, 45% of consumers would like to receive digital copies of their receipts.

What’s super important for small businesses is that as much as 64% of consumers surveyed said that they would be open to receiving additional messages with these digital receipts. 40% would like to receive info about upcoming sales, 34% about product promotions, and 31% about loyalty programs.

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4. 90% of small businesses accept cheques, 72% accept cash

A survey conducted in 2016 by Wells Fargo revealed that cheques are still widely in use for 90% of small businesses in the USA. Interestingly, more businesses accept cheques than cash!

According to the survey, 42% of businesses accepted credit or debit cards using a POS terminal or bank transfers, while only 30% accepted payments through a mobile POS, such as Square Reader or PayPal Here.

Source: 1, 2

5. 65% of small businesses in the USA use cloud accounting and invoicing solutions

A lot of tasks around financial management have moved to the cloud in the USA according to Intuit’s report “The Appification of Small Business” published in 2015.

65% of businesses use cloud accounting and bookkeeping, issue e-invoices, and accept online payments. The report estimates that as much as 78% of companies in the USA will be cloud-operational by 2020. The most widely used types of software are accounting and bookkeeping solutions used in 48% of small businesses, followed by payment solutions (25%).

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6. In 2015, there were approximately 1.23 million people employed as accountants and auditors in the U.S

According to Statista, there were 1.23 million accountants and auditors employed in the U.S. as of 2015. For comparison, in China, there were 14 million accountants as of 2014.

Interestingly, the accountancy profession plays a positive role in tackling corruption. According to a report by International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), countries with higher share of accountants in the entire workforce tend to score better in the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index.

Source: 1, 2, 3

7. 90% of companies will move accounting into the cloud

Cloud accounting is expected to proliferate over the coming years. According to Rob Nixon, the CEO of PANALITIX, over 90% of small and medium businesses will move thei accounting and bookkeeping activities to the cloud by 2020.

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8. QuickBooks is the world’s most used cloud accounting software

According to the software comparison site Capterra, QuickBooks, Freshbooks, and Wave were the world’s leading cloud accounting providers as of October 2016. With 9.6m users and 6.4m customers, QuickBooks was the leader in the cloud accounting world.

Another widely popular accounting provider Xero.com recently hit the 1m user mark earlier this year.

Source: 1, 2

9. 70% of businesses outsource tax preparation, 50% outsource payroll

According to Small Business Accounting Report published by Wasp Barcode Technologies, as much as 70% of businesses outsource tax preparation to specialists. 50% of small businesses look for external help regarding payroll.

Source: 1, 2

10. 14% of companies outsource bookkeeping, 30% outsource tax planning

Outsourcing bookkeeping is much less common. Only 14% of small businesses outsource bookkeeping meaning that the vast majority of business owners manage to deal with paperwork in-house. Tax planning is also something that rarely gets outsourced (30%).

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11. 40% of small businesses spend over 80 hours per year on taxes

Tax preparation demands a lot of time from small businesses. For 40% of companies in the USA, it takes over 80 hours per year to deal with taxes, according to the newest SCORE’s report. Also, 28% of businesses spend at least $10,000 a year on tax preparation annually.

The Doing Business Report created by the World Bank states that duties related to taxes take around 175 hours per year for all companies (not just small) in the USA. That figure can get a lot worse in many corners of the globe, such as Bulgaria (453h), Hungary (277h), or Italy (238h). Countries ranking ahead of the USA include Estonia (50h), Switzerland (63h), and Norway (83h).

Source: 1, 2

12. 40% of business owners say taxes and bookkeeping are the worst part of running a business

To make things even worse, according to the SCORE’s report, as much as 40% of small businesses say that taxes and bookkeeping are the worst aspects of running a business.

47% say that the cost of paperwork is the worst, for 23% complexity of compliance and changes in regulations are the biggest headache, while for 13% administrative issues and the waste of time are the most significant pain points.

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13. 33% of small businesses spent the most money on financial tech

In 2016 SalesForce released the Connected Small Business Report which revealed how small companies spend their technology budgets. For 33% of small businesses, financial tech, such as accounting, bookkeeping and bill payment technologies, was the number one on the list of technology expenses. On average technology accounts for 15% of their overall annual budgets.

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14. 59% of small businesses think they won’t need an accountant in 10 years

A lot of companies believe it won’t be necessary to hire an accountant 10 years from now, Xero has revealed.

Interestingly, at the same time, 30% of small businesses place accountants at the top of their list of trusted advisors, while 42% ask them for advice beyond accounting. 56% of small businesses believe they will use accountants for help with tasks outside of accountancy in the future.

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15. 72% of small companies expect proactive advice from their accountants

A new survey by The Sleeter Group reported that 72% of small business owners changed their CPA or accounting firms because the firm did not give proactive advice but only reactive service.

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16. 27.5% of companies blame manual data entry for accounting errors

According to a report by Bloomberg “Top Tax & Accounting Mistakes That Cost Companies Millions”, 27.5% of companies responded that accounting errors happened due to manually entering incorrect data into an enterprise system at their firms. Other issues included deleting customised Excel formulas (17%), and overwriting system data with numbers calculated elsewhere (13%).

These were one of the reasons why the IRS assessed $27.3 billion in civil penalties in 2016. Approximately $12.1 billion was related to civil penalties on individual, estate and trust income tax returns.

Source: 1, 2

17. 80% of companies rely on entering expense data manually

A study by Forrester Consulting showed that the vast majority of companies rely on manually entering all expense data, including travel expenses.

Gathering data from multiple sources to deal with expense management was a problem for 42% of companies surveyed. 60% said that the lack of mobile access was problematic, while 43% complained about not being able to generate custom expense reports.

Source: 1

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