Sageworks, a financial information firm, has identified five industries with the highest sales growth after examining the recent financial statements of U.S. private companies. These industries experienced stable net profit margins in recent years, and all but one showed profitability in the last 12 months that was above the average for all privately held companies.

Here are the five top industries:

Computer Services

Encompassing systems design, on-site management systems and data processing, the computer services industry saw sales growth of 15.3 percent in the last 12 months. Data integrity, data protection and data security have become a tremendous priority for many U.S. companies as cybercrime rises - making it an on-demand sector.

Architectural Services

This broad industry includes everything from landscape architecture, drafting services and building inspection to surveying and mapping, engineering and architectural work. The industry experienced 13.6 percent sales growth in the last 12 months. As the real estate market recovery continues and the economy in general improves, demand for architectural firm services is likely to keep growing.

Employment Firms

Ranging from temporary work placement and employment agency to payroll services and benefits administration, this industry experienced sales growth of 13.4 percent in the last 12 months. An improving economy and more hiring by companies represent a boon for small businesses specialized in employment-related sectors.

Consulting Firms

Businesses that involve management, human resources, energy, security, logistics, distribution and marketing had 11.4 percent sales growth in the last 12 months. With new issues pertaining to changes in the health care system, technology and even the environment, the need for experts who can help companies comply with new regulations is rising.

Accounting Services

Another broad category, accounting services, which includes CPA firms, tax preparation, bookkeeping and payroll services, had sales growth of 10.1 percent in the last 12 months.

Demand for such services is usually consistent, and once you have the appropriate education and licenses, upfront costs of a startup in this field aren't as intensive as other industries. (Remember that licenses and certifications have to be kept up to date.)

"For various reasons, each of these service industries might be worth exploring as starting points for business ideas," said Sageworks analyst Kevin Abbas, in a press release.

Another way to use the data to explore new business ideas is to identify some of the unmet needs of these growing industries and to determine where small businesses could provide support, he added.

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Published on: Jul 29, 2014