man-at-desk-computer-teleDo you love math? Does working in the health field appeal to you? If yes, and you’re thinking of a career in either of these two fields, here’s some good news. Of the 20 most profitable small businesses in the USA from 2003 to 2010, a whopping nine are money related and seven are in the health category. At the top of this list, put together by Forbes, are CPA offices with an average pretax profit margin of 16.5%. It’s nice to be needed and accountants always are no matter what shape the economy is in. Another reason for their high profits; have you ever seen a lavishly appointed CPA office? No, CPA’s don’t fritter away their moolah on workplace frills. Plus their clients return year after year.

I was surprised that chiropractors pull in more profits than physicians (who are at the very bottom of the list) until I recalled my own encounter with a chiropractor. After examining me and announcing my tilting, out of whack body was in serious need of straightening, the chiropractor outlined a long, VERY long series of weekly treatments. (These instantly ended when a substitute chiropractor cracked my neck sideways without  — eek! — prior warning).

One reason why dentists and orthodontists score so high on the list is their relative freedom from the restrictions of health plans. Many patients pay for these services out of pocket, giving the dental duo more pricing power.

Crowded, overflowing emergency rooms have contributed to the rapid growth and bottom lines of freestanding emergency and ambulatory surgical centers. Who wants to languish around a hospital ER for 8 hrs. (as I once did) before an overworked intern finally gets around to diagnosing a broken ankle and applying a cast.

Like Forbes, I was surprised that lawyers with their astronomical fees did not score higher on the list until I discovered that growing numbers of people have been consulting the internet to answer their legal questions and help resolve small scale legal problems.

Here’s a list of the 20 most-profitable industries of the traditional variety and their average pretax margins for eight years:

  1. Offices of Certified Public Accountants: 16.5%
  2. Offices of Chiropractors: 15.3%
  3. Freestanding Ambulatory Surgical and Emergency Centers: 15%
  4. Other Accounting Services: 14.9%
  5. Offices of Dentists: 14.7%
  6. Tax Preparation Services: 14.7%
  7. Offices of Orthodontists: 14.4%
  8. Offices of Lawyers: 13.4%
  9. Sales Financing: 13.3%
  10. Portfolio Management: 12.2%
  11. Drilling Oil And Gas Wells: 12%
  12. Offices of Optometrists: 11.5%
  13. Lessors of Nonresidential Buildings (except Mini-warehouses): 11.3%
  14. Offices of Real Estate Appraisers: 11%
  15. Lessors of Mini-warehouses and Self-Storage Units: 11%
  16. Insurance Agencies and Brokerages: 11%
  17. Other Activities Related To Credit Intermediation: 10.7%
  18. Investment Advice: 10.7%
  19. Offices of Physical, Occupational and Speech Therapists, and Audiologists: 10.6%
  20. Offices of Physicians (excluding Mental Health Specialists): 10.4%

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