Small firms woo trainees

The number of students training with small accountancy firms has soared this year, according to the latest English ICA education, training and student salary statistics published this week, bucking the trend in the profession that has seen the maxim ‘big is better’ reflected in a series of mergers.

The figures reveal a shift in graduate intake has taken place, with the mid-tier firms losing out to smaller practices. This year, the number of small firms training students increased by 7% from 742 to 795. One-fifth of students now in training contracts have chosen to train in small firms.

This year’s statistics indicate that the percentage of trainees working with Big Five firms is only slightly less than last year – 59.9% as opposed to 61.5%.

Top of the pile for training fledgling accountants is PricewaterhouseCoopers.

This year, the firm is expecting to receive 20,000 applications from prospective trainees, making it the biggest graduate recruiter in the UK.

Other survey results revealed that student entries for 1997/1998 rose by 9% to 4,547, the highest number since 1991/1992, while the percentage of women entrants continues to rise. In terms of earnings, graduate trainees can now expect to earn #14,114 a year.

Related reading