Which UK regions pay the highest salaries in accounting?

Which UK regions pay the highest salaries in accounting?

We found a 63.3% difference between the highest paid region and lowest paid region for accountancy jobs in the UK

London, the South East, and Yorkshire and the Humber boast the highest salaries among UK accountants while Wales and Northern Ireland have the lowest.

Accountancy Age put a salary survey to its audience of accountants working in industry and practice across the UK to ask them about their pay and other benefits.

While it is expected that average London salaries are the highest, the 63.3% difference between the regions with the best and worst salaries shows the gap to be quite high even taking the cost of living into account.

Average salary per UK region

How does your salary compare to the average where you work?

Find out what accountants tend to earn per region from the table below.


The Accountancy Age Salary Survey produced some unexpected results.

While London’s high average salary is not a surprise, the 63.3% difference between London and Wales, as the lowest paid region, is significant.

In fact, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), London households spend an average of £643.70 per week while households in Wales spend £458.70. The percentage difference is only 33.6% which means London-based accountants are getting the better deal.

ONS figures also show the North East to have the lowest average household expenditure, of £437 per week, but accountants working in the North East are earning the fourth highest average salaries in the UK.

As reflected in our report on the key trends of UK accountants’ salaries, industry accountants in London earn the most, with an average annual salary of £82,476 while practice accountants in London earn £76,482. Industry accountants actually earn higher salaries than practice accountants in every UK region.

The survey found the gender pay gap among UK accountants to be 21.5% across all regions. In London this is worse, with women earning average salaries of £63,277 and men earning £88,804, making the gender pay in London 33.6%.

Is it worth moving?

Some of these figures might make you think you should work elsewhere, but don’t be too quick to jump ship.

Working in another area of the country might either involve moving house or accepting a more expensive commute. The cost of living may also be more if the salaries are generally higher.

For example, the raw stats suggest that an accountant currently working in the South East should consider getting a new job in London, with a £13,112 difference in the average annual salary between the areas.

However, what would the new expenses amount to?

If the accountant currently lives and works in Oxford, for example, and decides to switch to a role in London they are looking at an annual commute cost of £5,932 according to National Rail’s season ticket calculator. On top of this, the accountant would need to consider other factors like the length of time they spend be commuting to their new job and whether the upheaval is worth it.

What company will you work for?

Accountants are needed all over the country; not being based in London doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a successful accounting career.

Whether you choose to work in industry for the finance team of a company, work your way up in an accounting firm, or even set up your own business, you can be based in many places around the UK. While location clearly has an impact on salary, it is definitely not the only decision when choosing where to work.

Plus, many of the London accounting firms including the Big Four EY, KPMG, Deloitte, and PwC also have a strong prominence in other industrial hubs as you can see from these lists of accounting firms in Manchester and accounting firms in Birmingham.

Other factors to consider

While money is important, deciding where to live and work is never as easy as choosing the region with the highest salary.

For instance, most people would rather earn a lower salary than have a horrendous commute to and from work every day.

If commuting isn’t an option, and you would need to move house to work in the new location, this isn’t a simple decision to make, and certainly doesn’t depend solely on salary.

Your own individual experiences and preferences are also important. The salaries in the table are simply an average, and may not be reflective of how well you are doing or have the potential to do with your current company. Perhaps you absolutely love your job now, and wouldn’t change it for anything, whether more money is involved or not.

 

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