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Accountant Salary UK - A Full Overview

How Much Do Accountants Make?

Leigh Gillatt  •  Recruitment Articles

Accountant Salary UK - A Full Overview

If you're considering becoming an accountant, you're probably keen to know how much you could be earning.

Likewise you may already be an accountant and want to know how your salary stacks up.

If you’re on the path to becoming an accountant, your effort in gaining your qualifications & experience will be worth it, not only are there a high number of available accountancy jobs in the UK, but you’ll also be able to expect to receive a very healthy pay packet throughout your career.

As a starting point, I’ll start by mentioning that the current average UK salary is £29,588 based on the Office of National Statistic data – that’s including data on London salaries.

How does that compare against UK accountants’ salaries?

Well, it’s not as easy to say as you’d might think since an ‘accountant’ could be a vast number of different roles and could include so many different job titles.

According to available data, qualified accountants in the UK earn anywhere between £27,530 to £400,000 a year, depending on qualifications, industry sector, company size and unfortunately still also depending on gender.

Across all industry sectors, demand for qualified accountants is greater than ever.

Not only are businesses investing more heavily in permanent accountancy recruitment and the professional development of their employees, but with a drop in people pursuing a career in accountancy during the last recession, demand for accountants has now become greater than supply.

In fact, Brexit and Making Tax Digital (MTD) are both boosting demand for accountants even further, which I assume is likely to be due to the increased legislation, new regulations and the forthcoming changes Brexit is likely to have on trade with the EU and VAT implications.

To help make sense of the accounting professions average salaries we’ll break the data up based on qualified level status.

Accounting Technician

Accounting technicians or Bookkeepers, are often entry-level positions that are gained either through the AAT Accounting Qualification or the ACCA Certified Accounting Technician qualification (CAT).

The job mainly involves traditional bookkeeper duties, processing invoices, recording payments and receipts, making sure that ledgers are balanced and submitting tax and VAT returns as well as PAYE & NIC contributions. Accounting technicians may also be responsible for handling a company’s expenses and payroll systems.

You can read our full Bookkeeper (Accounting Technician) job description here.

Salary-wise you can expect to earn between £16,000 and £21,500 whilst training and gaining experience.

Once you’ve completed your qualification, you can expect to earn up to £30,000 or more depending on your experience, industry sector and responsibilities within the role.

Chartered Accountant Salary UK

For those that progress within their career from Accounting Technicians, or via University, the chartered certification will present many more career opportunities and will also be presented with an increase in your salary.

Chartered Accountants are more focused on consultancy and auditing.

As well as managing financial systems and budgets, Chartered Accountants are also required to complete internal audits or work with a certified internal auditor to assess the financial health of a company.

Chartered Accountants often specialise in management accounting; usually via gaining a CIMA qualification, and can oversee the work of an entire accounting department within an organisation. They would also be in charge of every internal auditor within the company.

Other chartered accountants choose to specialise in forensic accounting, in which case their role will be to detect and prevent fraud and deal with financial irregularities as they appear.

Salaries remain relatively low even for Chartered Accountant despite having become fully qualified, however after two to four years’ experience, the average Chartered Accountant can expect to earn around £56,000 (including salary benefits).

After five years’ experience, a Senior Accountant average salary goes up to £90,200 with possible additional salary benefits totalling around £21,000, dependent upon the accountancy firm.

Industry vs Practice

The responses to a recent survey conducted by Accountancy Age by industry and practice accountants found that the average salary in accounting is 24% higher in industry than in practice.

Putting that into cash terms, this showed that industry accountants earn an average of £68,004 while accountants in practice earn £55,030.

Practice displayed both the lowest salary of all the responses (£11,975) and yet also the highest salary (£400,000).

Industry roles showed that salary ranges were more balanced, with the lowest salary being £20,000 and the highest salary being £225,000.

The gender pay gap in accountancy

As with many of the professions, there is still a marked pay gap between the genders. Male chartered accountants in business can earn anything up to 58% more than Women in similar positions.

However, the pay gap is narrowest among chartered accountants under 30, indicating a modern approach is being adopted for accountants entering the profession.

The general outlook for accounting professionals in the UK is strong and you can be sure that whichever way you decide to take your accountancy career, you'll be handsomely remunerated.

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