CA salary survey indicates signs of recovery

By Robert Outram

4 March 2014

ICAS publishes its annual salary survey, which provides an insight into pay and conditions in the profession.

More than four out of 10 chartered accountants (CAs) polled say their overall pay package has not kept pace with the cost of living in the past five years, according to a survey for ICAS.

However, the research conducted with more than 1,500 CAs in Scotland, England and Wales, revealed that firms are relaxing their austerity measures as the economy starts to thaw out, with three-quarters of respondents receiving a pay increase and a fall in pay freezes.

The poll was carried out by The CA magazine, in association with recruitment consultants Wilkinson & Associates.

Around one in four CAs in the survey (26%) say they had seen no increase in basic pay over the past 12 months, compared with around a third (34%) who reported a pay freeze in last year's survey.

Of those who did see an increase in basic pay, the median increase was in the range 2.1%-3%. Only half of all those polled say they believed that their overall pay package had kept pace with the cost of living over the past year and just under half over the past five years.

Around 10 per cent report that they are "very satisfied" with their remuneration and 65 per cent are "satisfied" (the equivalent figures for last year were 10 per cent and 67 per cent).

Of those polled, 40 per cent say they would pursue a new job "if the right opportunity came up" and 9 per cent are "actively seeking" a new job.

Just under half of CAs surveyed reported working more than 54 hours per week.

Money purchase pensions, private healthcare and commission/bonus payments topped the list of benefits. The continuing trend in workplace pensions is marked by the fact that as many respondents were entitled to a bicycle allowance (12%) as they were to have a final salary pension.

The survey found that the median salary for a manager (qualified CA) in an accountancy firm ranged from just over £40k to £60k, depending on the size of the practice, while as a manager in industry a CA could command £41k (in a small business) up to £70k (in a publicly listed company).

The median salary for a financial controller was £41k-50k (in a small business) up to £71k-80k in a publicly listed company, and £61k-70k in the public sector. Meanwhile, for a financial director the median salary was £101k-150k (in a business with fewer than 50 employees) up to £201k-299k (in a plc).

Ian Wilkinson, director at recruitment consultants Wilkinson & Associates, commented: "The jobs market for accountants is presenting a mixed but improving picture, and a sustained recovery is far from certain, but there are signs now that employers are realising they have to take the right steps to attract and retain staff."

Robert Outram, editor of The CA, said: "The mood of cautious optimism appears to be reflected in employers' remuneration policies. Even so, more than four in ten of CAs in the survey believe their pay has not kept pace with the cost of living, so if growth does match expectations there will be pressure to improve packages or risk losing staff."

Wilkinson & Associates is a key recruitment partner of, the official online recruitment platform of ICAS.


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