As entrepreneurship continues to expand across America, many who have caught the small business bug are desperate to find a profitable field to make their mark. A recent study released by Sageworks ranked small business industries according to their profitability. The overall winner was financial services, with accounting, tax prep, bookkeeping, and payroll processing coming out on top with an 18.3% growth in sales this year. Rising Trend: Accounting and Legal Firms Accounting firms have a number of built-in benefits that make them perfect for small business. They are low-cost enterprises, requiring little capital to get started. All firms really need are trained employees who can crunch numbers. There are no inventory costs and, with the rise in popularity of coworking spaces, finding office space is much more affordable. Accounting is not the only field, however, that has these built-in benefits. Legal firms also lack inventory costs and require only well-trained employees. The legal services field saw a 17.4% growth this year. Legal firms can rake in significant sums of money depending on their specialty. The highest paying legal fields at the moment are litigation and intellectual property. Litigators handle high-dollar, high-profile, and high-stakes cases that usually end in large settlements. Intellectual property law protects ideas: patents, copyrights, trademarks and other profitable concepts. As technology innovations continue, the demand for patent lawyers increases. Because of this, intellectual property law is also the fastest-growing sector in the law field. Other Highly Profitable Industries While accounting and legal firms made the largest profit strides this year, they aren’t the only industries on the rise. Here are some other profitable industries from the Sageworks study: \tLessors of real estate: 17.4% \tManagement of companies and enterprises 16% \tOutpatient care centers: 15.9% \tOffices of real estate agents and brokers: 14.8% \tOffices of other health practitioners: 14.2% \tOffices of dentists: 14.1% \tSpecialized design services: 12.8% \tAutomotive equipment rental and leasing: 12.5% \tActivities related to real estate: 12.3% \tWarehouse and storage: 11.6% \tOffices of physicians: 11.5% \tNonmetallic mineral mining and quarrying: 11.2% \tMedical and diagnostic laboratories: 11.1% \tOther schools and instruction: 10.5% The Least Profitable Industries \tOil and gas extraction: -7.6% \tSupport activities for mining: 0.6% \tBeverage manufacturing: 0.8% \tGrocery and related product merchant wholesalers: 1.9% \tLawn and garden equipment and supplies stores: 2.0% \tMiscellaneous durable goods merchant wholesalers: 2.3% \tPetroleum and petroleum products merchant wholesalers: 2.4% \tGrocery stores: 2.5% \tAutomobile dealers: 3.2% \tBuilding material and supplies dealers: 3.2% \tContinuing care retirement communities and assisted living facilities for the elderly: 3.3% \tOther motor vehicle dealers: 3.3% \tHome furnishings stores: 3.3% \tFurniture stores: 3.4% \tBeer, wine, and liquor stores: 3.4% Many of the least profitable fields have huge inventory and overhead costs. The Sageworks study qualifies their research by saying, “not all private companies are necessarily shooting for high profitability; maybe their industry is price sensitive and relies on volume for growth or maybe they are sinking profits back into the business for R&D.” Nevertheless, profitability is an important consideration for entrepreneurs, and is a good indicator of potential success. If growth in the aforementioned industries continues, there will be significant upticks in small businesses seeking opportunities in those fields this year.