Accountancy profession contributed £98 billion to UK and Irish economies, new report reveals
- GDP contribution of accountancy profession increased 39% in five years.
- Profession supported almost one million jobs.
- Accountancy generated £11 billion (€14 billion) in tax revenues
The accountancy profession - comprising the accountancy sector, as well as accountants working across the wider economy - made a combined £98 billion (€114 billion) contribution to the UK and Irish economies in 2022, a new report published today (Tuesday 30 January) by Oxford Economics has revealed.
Commissioned by the Consultative Committee of Accountancy Bodies (CCAB), the report further found that the profession supported over 900,000 jobs (911,800) in the UK and Ireland, and generated £11.4 billion (€13.7 billion) in tax revenues in 2022. The total GDP contribution of the profession in the UK and Ireland grew by 39% between 2017 and 2022. 
Expenditure on accounting services by businesses in the UK reached almost £30 billion (£29.3 billion) in 2022, and €3.4 billion in Ireland. In both markets, the report estimated that the IT sector was the largest purchaser of accounting services in that year.
The UK exported £4 billion in accounting services in 2022, increasing its share of total UK service exports since 2016 by 0.3% percentage points, despite the changed trading landscape post-Brexit.
CCAB said the findings highlight the key role the profession has played supporting businesses over the past five years, helping them to navigate the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, Brexit and geo-political crises like the war in Ukraine, as well as the transition to a green economy and new technology.
Julia Penny, CCAB Chair, said: “The significant contributions highlighted in this report underline the value of the accountancy profession to the prosperity of the UK and Ireland. Accountants are playing a key role in driving economic growth: helping millions of businesses to navigate global challenges and opportunities, as well as leading schemes to boost social mobility and access to the profession.
“It’s not surprising to see that contributions have grown during the past five years given the impact of the pandemic and cost of doing business crisis. Demand for our knowledge and skills remains strong, in part thanks to our expanding roles in dealing with a range of non-financial information. I expect accountants to retain a central role as the profession evolves to further help businesses adapt to the climate emergency and technological advances, issues on which our future economic success and stability depend.”
The report assesses both the economic and wider social impact of the profession to the UK and Ireland, with quantitative analysis supplemented by case studies which provide a snapshot of the positive contributions that accountants are making in the areas of diversity and inclusion; skills; and sustainability.
On sustainability, Tanya Steele CBE, Chief Executive of WWF UK, said in her foreword to the report that she is encouraged to see the accountancy profession taking a leading role in shaping the work ahead.
Dr Alan Belfield, Co-Chair of the Professional & Business Services Council (PBSC) , added: “The Professional and Business Service professions are a large and vital pillar which supports the prosperity of the UK and Ireland, and accountancy is no exception. The sector provides crucial advice that enables businesses, both large and small, and in every region, to become more productive, profitable and competitive. I am not surprised to see its contribution to the UK and Irish economies has increased in recent years.”
CCAB is an umbrella organisation for the UK and Ireland’s leading accountancy bodies - ICAEW, ACCA, ICAS, CIPFA and Chartered Accountants Ireland. Membership of CCAB bodies has grown by 14% since 2017, and these bodies reported more than half a million students registered globally during 2022.
Read the full report to discover the breadth of the accountancy profession’s impact and CCAB’s commitment to driving sustainable growth among the organisations, economies, and communities it serves.
1. Oxford Economics have assessed the direct impact of the accountancy profession in the UK and Ireland across three key metrics: GDP, employment, and tax, as well as considering its impact on business purchases and trade. The accountancy profession is defined as all workers in the accountancy industry as well as employees in other sectors working as “in-house” accountants in accountancy and bookkeeping roles.
The nominal increase of 39% in combined GDP contributions between 2017 and 2022 is based on data in CCAB’s last Oxford Economics report published in 2018. This is a 22% increase in real terms, when adjusted for inflation, calculated by adjusting the UK and Ireland 2017 contributions to 2022 prices, converting the Irish contribution to GBP and then comparing the results.
2. The Professional & Business Services Council (PBSC) the main independent forum for the Professional & Business Services sector and the UK Government, to enable both sides to work together to promote the long-term success of the sector in the UK and globally.