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What Is The Average Accountant Salary In The UK?

By Yann, published on 15/11/2018 We Love Prof > Professional Development > Accounting > What Salary Can You Expect As An Accountant?

As a base note, we will start by mentioning that the average UK salary is £27.271 a year (£39,476 in London).

How does that compare against accountants’ salary?

Well, it’s hard to say since the term accountant is so vague and could include so many different job titles.

According to available data, accountants in the UK earn anywhere between £28,630 to £400,000 a year, depending on qualifications, industry, company size and sadly also depending on gender.

It will also depend on the kind of accounting job you wish to do: public accounting, finance accounting, general accounting,  corporate accounting and so on.

The accounting sector seems to be above the national average (18.4%) when it comes to the disparity in salaries between men and women.  In practice accountancy, the variation is about 19.2% or roughly £10,000 a year. In the industry sector, the gap increases to 24.4% resulting in a difference of more than £16,000.

Despite women earning a lot less than their male counterparts, surveys have found that female accountants were more likely to hold a professional accounting qualification. So make sure to know how much the position you’re interviewing for should be paid and do not sell yourself short.

If you just received the very prized title of Chartered Accountant, you will almost certainly already have a few years of work experience behind you. However, you might be tempted to get an accounting job in another industry or apply to another company. Let’s look at different accountant jobs and their salary range expectations.

Using accounting software to prepare reports. Accountants often prepare financial reports about their clients’ portfolio or company’s financial health.

Accounting Technician

Accounting technicians are often entry-level positions that you can access 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 National Insurance contributions. Accounting technician can also handle a company’s expenses and payroll systems.

Most of the work is computerised these days, and this job is pretty much desk-bound unless you are self-employed, in which case you are more likely to travel from client to client.

More senior Accounting Technician can also take on budgeting, financial reporting, tax returns preparation or become an assistant controller.

Salary wise you can expect to earn between £16,000 and £22,000 while training to get your certification. Once all your exams are done, and your diploma framed and pinned on the wall, expect to earn £30,000 or more depending on your you experience, industry and responsibilities.

Chartered Accountants

One step above Accounting Technicians, the chartered certification will open many more doors and will give a bump to your paycheck.

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. Following such inspections, they often advise clients on tax planning, potential business transactions including mergers and acquisition or dealing with a company’s bankruptcy.

Chartered Accountants often specialise in management accounting and can oversee the work of an entire accounting department. They would also be in charge of every internal auditor within the company.

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

In the beginning, salaries remain pretty low even for Chartered Accountant, but after two to four years, following your qualification, it will be time to renegotiate. At that point, the average Chartered Accountant can expect to earn around £56,000 (including bonus).

After five years of experience, a Senior Accountant average salary goes up to £90,200 with an additional bonus of around £20,600 with variations depending on which accounting firm is hiring you.

Financial Advisers

If you prefer a more consultancy based career, accountants can also become financial advisers. Their job is to provide clients with specialist advice on how to manage and “grow” their money.

This job can vary and is often divided into two categories:

  • Independent Financial Advisers (IFAs), who research and consider all retail investment products and supplier available to meet their clients’ needs. They must remain unbias and offer unrestricted advice.
  • Restricted Advisers are limited to a particular niche or range of product or providers.

In both cases, as a Financial Adviser, you will have to manage a client list and set up meetings. Your role will also include reviewing your client’s financial situation and advise them according to the risk analysis that you would have completed.

You will also have to design financial strategies according to the results of your market research and adapt in function of a client change of circumstance or need.

Salary wise, at entry-level, expect to earn between £22,000 and £30,000 a year. With qualification, you could earn up to £45,000, and after years of experience and a promotion to a Senior Financial Adviser position, you could make around £60,000 a year. If you work as a Wealth Manager for a private bank or major retail division, it is pretty standard to earn above £100,000.

Reading business newspapers will become an habit. If you work as a financial accountant you will have to stay on top of business new and follow market trend very closely.

Investment Analysts

In the banking industry, an Investment Analyst is crucial to help traders, wealth managers and stockbrokers to make the right decisions about possible investments.

Their work with banks, corporations, hedge funds, life insurance companies or pension funds as well as wealthy individuals consists in providing insight into economic trends and evaluate the potential returns of various investments.

This job primarily consists of analysing data from different sources and identifying trends to make informed recommendations to your clients or company managers.

It will require you to asses company results including profit and loss, balance sheet and cash flow statements and you will have to keep up to date with market developments, new products and movements in relevant country’s economy.

It also requires you to stay on top of world news, as war, natural disasters or political tensions can affect the performance of a company’s stock.

Most investment analysts are based in London, where they usually earn between £28,000 and £40,000 a year to start with. During their first three years on the job, Investment Analysts can expect to get a yearly bonus ranging from 10 to 100% of their actual salary.

With five to eight years experience you could expect to earn between £65,000 and £100,000 a year as a Senior Financial Analyst with a bonus between 40 and 150% of your salary.

At Senior level, salary reach over £110,000 and typical bonus are up to 200% of your salary.

Financial Trader

Working directly with Investment Advisers, a Financial Trader is in charge of selling or buying shares, bonds and assets for investors.

Responsibilities for such a position includes executing trades according to client’s orders, informing your clients of market movements and possible investment opportunities or gathering information about companies’ valuation.

Most Traders work long hours to be able to follow the market or their niche product, and this kind of work is usually demanding as trading on international market can be hectic, and the stress of managing large amounts of money can somehow be stressful.

However, the strains of this career are largely compensated by the salary a Financial Trader can expect to earn.

At the beginning of your career, you could be earning between £26,000 and £32,000, not including commissions (which can add up quickly).

Experience traders can make between £45,000 and £150,000 a month depending on your employer or the type of market your trade on.

If you reach the level of Associate Trader working in a top-tier bank, you could earn around £140,000 and if you specialise in a more lucrative niche market, traders making around £230,000 a year are the norm.

Market trading board. Being a Financial Trader can be frantic and staying on top of every changes and trend is a key to success.

Chief Financial Officers

This job is one of the highest ranking positions in a company hierarchy, and as a CFO you will be the senior assistant to a company’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

Your job is to oversee all of a company’s finances and operation to ensure that the treasury, economic strategy and forecasting are all respected and that your company is on track to meet its yearly financial targets.

You will also have to report to key shareholders, usually represented at a company’s board, about what is occurring regarding the company’s financial position.

CFO’s are crucial to the success of a company, in maintaining its financial health, identifying potential threats, ensure compliance with all current regulations and finding ways to increase profits.

Salary wise, the national average for CFOs in the UK is around £115,000, but given the seniority of such a position, it takes years of experience and dedication before reaching such a job.

In London, this average goes up to £128,000, but some famous British companies pay their CFOs much more than that:

  • Wire and Plastic Products – WPP, the biggest public relation company in the world, based in London. The company’s CFO, Sir Martin Powell, makes more £48 million a year.
  • Reckitt Benckiser Group, a consumer good company owning brands such as Dettol, Strepsils and Airborne, pays it CFO, Rakesh Kapoor, £14.6 million a year.
  • The RELX Grup, an information and analytics company based in London, has been paying its CFO, Erik Engstrom, £10.6 million a year.

Whatever the career path you choose to follow, auditor, accounting manager, public accountant, tax accountant or financial manager, a degree in accounting will open many doors.

It is an excellent tool for entrepreneurs to make sure they succeed in their business endeavours, but it is also a prized profession in the banking industry and the consultancy sector.

It is also the safest job in the world, both in term of job security and physical safety.

If you are a freshly certified or chartered accountant, it might worth looking at current vacant positions in major accounting firms such as Deloitte, Ernst Young, Robert Half International or PWC.

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