Salary Survey 2019: Accountants enjoy more money in their pocket

Discussing salary remains one of those taboo subjects that is better not discussed in the workplace yet knowing how yours compares is important and informs us if we are being compensated fairly.

Every year Accountancy Age asks readers to share feedback on their salaries, along with other information such as qualification, location and more, to help us paint a picture of the sector’s salary position. What are the main trends for this year?

Things are looking up (mostly)

This year’s survey found that the average salary for accountants rose from £62,042 to £63,715. This figure includes salaries from trainees and assistant accountants up to CEOs and firm partners. The median salary sits at £55,000. The lowest salary reported was £11,500 and the highest at £720,000.

While the average salary in general went up, for part qualified accountants their average dropped from £28,691 to £27, 962. All other qualification groups enjoyed a higher average salary this year. Newly qualified accountants’ salaries were up by 5.5% from £38,129 to £40,238. Experienced accountants like team leaders or senior associates saw a slight increase from £59,709 to £60,795 while senior/director level accountant average salary rose from £75,707 in 2018 and to £78,135 in 2019.

As expected, London has the highest average salary which sits at £80,950. This is more than double the average salary of the North East, which has the lowest average salary at £37,930. In other words, London accountants earn £18,000 more than the national average while those in the North East earn £25,000 less.

Industry enjoys a slightly higher average salary at £65,886 compared to practice’s £61, 574. Though it is worth mentioning that there are more senior level accountants in industry than in practice.

Firm size doesn’t necessarily correlate with salary. While firms between one to ten people paid the least (£53,896), firms sized 101-200 on average paid the most (£76,959).

More facts and figures

The average working week for accountants is just over 41 hours. Audit remains the most common practice for responding accountants (one in five), with tax coming a close second.

Within this year’s survey, we had a near equal number of respondents from practice and industry. Accountants in industry worked nearly an hour more per week than their practice colleagues.

More than 35% of respondents work in firms with 100 people or less, while 32% of those who completed our survey work in a firm of more than 1,000 people.

Nearly 12% of accountants surveyed did not have any formal accreditation, the lowest non-accredited accountant earned £15,750 and the highest earned £150,000. The majority of those without accreditation worked in practice (76%) as opposed to industry (24%).

Of those without accreditation, 45% are experienced level or higher, working in positions like Tax Director and Financial Manager.

The gender pay gap

The gender pay gap has decreased this year compared to last. On average, women in accountancy earn 16% less than men, compared to 22% last year. That’s a healthy step in the right direction, although it’s clear there’s still more work to be done.

Interestingly, the pay gap is nearly non-existent for part-qualified accountants, but grows to 18% for newly qualified professionals. It is widest at the ‘experienced’ level where women make 21% less than men.

In the East of England region, both men and women are being compensated at the same rate, while in Wales and Northern Ireland women are actually making more than men.

Overall, the salary of accountants continues to go up and the gender pay gap closes, but a sizeable divide still remains. In the second part of Accountancy Age’s view of this year’s Salary Survey we will take a look at pay rises, benefits and how accountant’s view their future earning prospects.

The second part of Accoutancy Age’s salary survey breakdown can be found: here

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