Based on 300,000 companies, most with annual sales under $10 million. One takeaway: Specialization pays off.
With the help of Sageworks, a Raleigh, N.C.-based accounting consultancy and private-company data provider, Forbes assembled a list of the 20 most profitable businesses, on a pretax basis, that aspiring entrepreneurs might launch. At No. 1: offices of Certified Public Accountants, with an average pretax margin of 17.1%. Wired communication carriers (transmission-line operators and the like), which clock an average 10.1% margin, brought up the rear. For a full list of each industry and its average margin, click here.
The data are drawn from financial
statements on nearly 300,000 companies, most with under $10 million in
annual revenue, and bucketed by five- and six-digit North American
Industry Classification System codes. The figures were gathered between
2000 and 2009, to capture an entire business cycle. To be considered,
each category included at least 100 companies. Some businesses gravely
hurt by the latest downturn, like architectural services, were dropped
to avoid skewing the results.
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