Internal auditors 'earn more than external counterparts'

Pay level
By Eleanor O'Neill, CA Today

28 September 2016

Internal auditors are better paid than their external counterparts at all levels of employment, according to new research.

The study, by salary-benchmarking site Emolument, analysed the salaries of 1401 auditors and accountants working in London. It found that, regardless of experience, there is a marked pay gap between internal auditors and consultants.

However, in terms of specialisms, financial accounting consultants are 30% more lucrative at managerial level than accountants employed internally.

The research also indicates that the Big Four accountancy firms do not necessarily pay more than other, smaller firms.

Alice Leguay, Co-Founder and COO at Emolument, said: "Not only do companies have to pay competitively to attract and retain the best staff, but they also need to adapt their recruitment and retention strategies and find out what accountants want to do right now, in five years, and 10 years time."

Internal auditors earn more

In the financial sector especially, internal auditors are shown to be better off when it comes to pay than consulting auditors.

As senior consultants, external auditors make 21% less, while the gap in total compensation increases to 28% for managerial positions.

  1-2 YoE 3-5 YoE 6-8 YoE
Internal auditor £36,000 £54,000 £72,000
External auditor £32,000 £46,000 £55,000
Internal bonuses £0 £4000 £8000
External bonuses £0 £0 £2000

In line with most consultancy practices, very few consulting auditors are reported to earn bonuses in the early years of employment, prior to promotion to manager.

Even then, the bonus is only 4% of their total earnings, in comparison to internal auditors who generally earn bonuses of between 7% and 9% for junior managers and managers respectively.

Big Four vs smaller firms

There appears to be no noticeable salary difference between working for a Big Four firm or a smaller accountancy practice, no matter the experience level, according to the study.

However, it is worth noting that the pay of Big Four employees is usually supplemented by bonuses after a certain point.

  Consultant (1-2 YoE) Senior Consultant (3-5 YoE)
Big 4 salary £32,000 £45,000
Other firm salary £32,000 £46,000
Big 4 bonus £0 £1000
Other firm bonus £0 £0

The report does point out that there are other advantages to working for a Big Four firm. Namely a blue chip reputation, mentoring and training processes and the professional network provided by a large-scale operation.

Source: Emolument


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