Accounting Career Statistics: 50 Revealing Insights

Accounting Career Statistics
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As a qualified accountant, I’m fully aware of some of pros and cons of working as an accountant.

Despite this, researching facts and figures for the below post was very interesting and sometimes shocking! In the below post, you will be presented with facts and figures on:

  • The number of members and students in the profession
  • Female members
  • Where do accountants end up working
  • Training
  • Where do young accountants want to work
  • Job satisfaction
  • Pay
  • Diversity

Accounting Career Statistics: Facts & Figures on the number of Members/Students

There are approx. 2,000,000 accountants on the planet. The UK with less than 1% of the world’s population has more than 13% of the world’s share of accountants. (Accountancydaily)

There were 367,000 members AND students in the UK and Republic of Ireland in 2018. (FRC)

27% of these were ACCA, 23% CIMA, and 35% ACA, with the remainder being made up from smaller organisations. (FRC)

The total number of members of the seven accountancy bodies in the UK and ROI has grown steadily at 2.2% from 2014 to 2018. (FRC)

However, the number of audit firms continued to decline. The total number of registered audit firms was 5,394 at the end of 2018. It was 6,010 at the end of 2016. (FRC)

There are over 164,000 students in the UK and Republic of Ireland and nearly 600,000 worldwide. (FRC)

Out of this 164,000, 49% were ACCA, 29% were CIMA, and 13% were ACA. (FRC)

Student numbers increased by 0.2% in the UK and by 1.5% worldwide from 2017 to 2018. (FRC)

Employment of accountants and auditors is expected to grow by 6 percent from 2018 to 2028. (The Bureau of Labor Statistics)

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Accounting Career Statistics: ACCA Logo

Accounting Career Statistics: Female Members

Female members made up over 36 percent of worldwide accountancy body memberships in 2017. (CCAB)

This percentage is likely to grow into the future, as more female students enrol into the profession. (CCAB)

Currently, female students constitute 49 percent of all students registered. (CCAB)

ACCA has the largest percentage of female students in 2018 at 58%. (CCAB: The Accountancy Profession in the UK & Ireland)

Accounting Career Statistics: Where Do Accountants End Up Working?

The accounting industry itself employs the largest share of accounting professionals. (CCAB)

48 percent of the total people employed within the accounting industry were accountants. (CCAB)

There were around 613,100 individuals employed in accounting roles in the UK during 2017. (CCAB)

432,000 were employed as in-house accountants in companies. 181,000 worked as accounting professionals in accounting practices. (CCAB)

The Industry and Commerce sector employs the highest % of members (55%) and students (43%) across all the accountancy bodies. (FRC)

Over 75% of students at ICAEW work in and accounting practice. Only 2% of CIMA students are employed in practice. (FRC)

24% of accounting graduates go onto work as chartered and certified accountants. (Prospects)

The second most common occupation is finance and investment analysts and advisers. (Prospects)

7 of the top 10 jobs held by graduates are related to their degree subject. (Prospects)

14% percent of all graduate vacancies are accountancy roles – the vast majority of them being in the Big Four.

The Big Four takes on between 2,000+ graduates a year. (GRB)

Strong, numerate graduates who are ambitious, and analytical are sought after. (GRB)

Relevant work experience is also a big plus, with 58% of employers rating it as the most important factor when assessing a new applicant. (GRB)

Accounting Career Statistics: Picture of a Calculator

When interviewing 100 graduates 10 years out of university for my book, I found that the people who showed their initiative and had done some work experience during university were streets ahead of those who had not in terms of their careers. Check out my post on the Importance of Work Experience

Accounting Career Statistics: Training

A high % of ICAEW students finish their training in 4 years or less. 10% of students take more than 4 years. (FRC)

Accountants working in industry were much more likely to have professional accounting qualifications than their equivalents in practice. (AccountancyAge)

Only 8.4% of accountants in industry had no qualification, this rose to 15.4% for practice accountants. (AccountancyAge)

Despite earning less than men, women were more likely to have a professional accounting qualification. (AccountancyAge)

13.9% of men did not have a formal qualification compared to only 7.33% of women. (AccountancyAge)

Accounting Career Statistics: Where Young Accountants Want to Work

According to ACCA research, 85% of the younger generation of accountants surveyed want careers that span international locations. (ACCA – Future ready: accountancy careers in the 2020s)

75% of accountants would consider moving to another country for a better quality of life. (Marks Sattin)

42% would choose the USA ahead of Australia and Singapore making it the most popular destination. (Marks Sattin)

Accounting Career Statistics: Picture of New York

Despite the language barrier, emerging economies such as China (8%), India (7%) and Malaysia (9%) were also popular options for career moves. (Marks Sattin)

Surprisingly, money was only the fifth most common reason for which accountants emigrate (48% saying they would move for financial reasons). (Marks Sattin)

This was followed by:

  • Better quality of life abroad (61%)
  • Desire to experience a different culture (54%)
  • Career development (52%)
  • Better employment opportunities (49%)

27% of accountants expect to remain overseas for just one to two years. (Marks Sattin)

25% said they will spend two to five years abroad, seeing it as a temporary move before returning to the UK. (Marks Sattin)

Accounting Career Statistics: Job Satisfaction

A Totaljobs report asked 16,000 workers how satisfied they are with their job and found accountants to have the highest levels of satisfaction. (TotalJobs)

They are also the least likely to leave their job of any sector/industry. (TotalJobs)

They were also second most satisfied with their current employer, fourth most likely to recommend their current employer to a friend and second most loyal to their employer. (TotalJobs)

A survey of 2,000 employees revealed that those working in utilities (94%) and insurance (90%) were most happy with their work-life balance, despite those sectors having some of the longest average working weeks in the UK. (TotalJobs)

Those least happy with their work-life balance were people working in accountanting (42%) and financial services (47%)

In a Daddilife/Deloitte survey, almost 48% of dads in accounting requested a change in their work hours as they were struggling with work-life problems. (AccountancyDaily)

Picture of a Stressed Dad

34% of ICAEW members said their jobs had a direct negative impact on their physical and mental health. (ICAEW)

The main issues given were tiredness, sleep problems, stress, weight, aches and pains, and general sickness. (ICAEW)

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Accounting Career Statistics: Pay

Bureau of Labor Statistics show the top 10% of accountants earned an average of $111,510 annually. (AccountingDegree)

In groups of industry and practise accountants, most of the respondents felt their salaries would grow by 1-5% in the next year. (AccountancyAge)

Accountancy Age found a gender pay gap of 21.5% in the accounting profession. (AccountancyAge)

This places accountancy above the national average gender pay gap of 18.4%. (AccountancyAge)

Men earned an average of £66,646 while woman earned £53,688 a year.

The pay gap in practice accountancy was slightly lower. (AccountancyAge)

Men earned 19.2% more than women at £58,443 and £48,207 respectively. (AccountancyAge)

In industry the difference was significantly more. (AccountancyAge)

The average salary for men was £73,957 while the average for women £57,893 – a pay gap of 24.4%. (AccountancyAge)

When filtered by gender, 46% of women and 38% of men thought that they weren’t fairly paid. (AccountancyAge)

Picture of Money

Are you an accountant that wants to earn more money? if so check out my post on How to Become a Finance Director

Accounting Career Statistics: Diversity

The Top 50+50 survey found that only 18% of partners at the top UK accountancy firms were women.

45% of qualified accountants working at these firms were female, which implies that women are not rising to partner or senior positions. (AccountancyAge)

The survey also showed that 54% of firms had no partners from ethnic minority backgrounds. (AccountancyAge)

69% of firms had less than 10% of partners from an ethnic minority background. (AccountancyAge)

27% of firms had no accountants from an ethnic minority background, and 64% had less than 10% representation. (AccountancyAge)

In 2013, EY set targets to have 10% black and minority ethnic (BAME) representation in its new partner intake. (AccountancyAge)

Four years later, the firm had achieved 11% BAME representation. (AccountancyAge)

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