Top 50+50: UK accountancy aims to be inclusive

Top 50+50: UK accountancy aims to be inclusive

Report shows industry are making inroads on diversity

Top 50+50: UK accountancy aims to be inclusive

Diversity protocols have been an important part of the growth plans for many leading accountancy practices.

However, the results of the Top 50 + 50 report have revealed that there is still room for improvement to make the UK’s accountancy sector more inclusive, both for employees from a BAME background and women.

Within the Top 50+50 respondents just under five percent of partners come from a BAME background, with the median number of BAME partners per firm being seven.

Of the 7,393 total partners on the list only 329 are classed as BAME compared with 12.77 percent of qualified accountants.

While there is still scope for more inclusivity, 95.5 percent of respondents demonstrated that they are taking action by having a diversity and/or equality strategy in place.

This is a modest increase of 0.9 percent on last year’s total but it demonstrates progress towards 96 percent which is what was the number of firms that reported having a policy in 2018.

24 percent of firms further display their commitment by having a dedicated diversity director to oversee operations.

A win for gender inclusivity

The Top 50 + 50 report revealed that while heads of firms are still predominately male, the percentage of male leaders has dropped from 87 percent to 76 percent in 2020.

The dramatic decrease of 11 percent is further offset by one fifth of partners and almost half of all qualified accountants (45.47 percent) being female.

Interestingly, 2020 has seen the most dramatic changes in this category in recent years with figures remaining relatively unchanged until now.

For the last two years the survey has shown that, on average, 82 percent of UK partners within the firms surveyed were male, which has decreased to 79 percent in 2020.

Despite enjoying a rise in profits across the board last year, around a third of firms are expecting revenue growth to be lower in the year ahead.

Amidst economic uncertainty, 29 percent of those surveyed expect partnership profits for 2020-2021 to decrease.

Currently the average fee per partner is at £900,000 with the average partner’s remuneration being £228,000.

More than 50 percent (53 respondents) said they will not be increasing number of partners in 2020. In 2019, 57 percent said they planned to add partners in the year ahead.

Furthermore, 46 percent of those surveyed said they expect their UK professional head count to fall or stay the same in 2020. More than a quarter expect support staff numbers to drop this year.

While the top 100 firms expect to cut employee numbers in the coming year, the
staff attrition rate has increased from 11.1 percent in 2019 to 14.99 percent in 2020. We might expect to see a drop in this figure in 2021 as job security becomes a top priority for employees in an uncertain market.

 

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