News July 2017 Accountancy profession’s talent pool expands

Accountancy profession’s talent pool expands

12 July 2017
PN 30/17

Worldwide more than half a million accountancy professionals are now members of the UK and Ireland accountancy bodies. Over 350,000 are based in the UK and Ireland. Membership grew by 3.2% worldwide (2.4% in the UK and Ireland) between 2012 and 2016. Student numbers increased to 576,000 worldwide (+2.9%),and 164,000 in the UK (+0.7%), during 2016.

The Financial Reporting Council’s (FRC) publication, Key Facts and Trends in the Accountancy Profession (PDF), now in its 15th year, collates data on accountancy bodies’ membership and regulatory activities, as well as data on audit and audit firms. The FRC oversees the bodies in their regulation of their members and is the UK Competent Authority for audit.

In connection with audit key facts and trends are:
  • The number of registered audit firms continues to decline. At the end of 2016 there were 6,010 registered audit firms in the UK and Ireland. The number of members holding audit qualifications also dropped (129,509 in 2016 compared to 140,135 in 2014).

  • However there was an increase in the number of approved training offices in the UK and Ireland, with an upward trend in the number of students choosing audit as a route to qualification.

  • The total fee income of the firms which audit Public Interest Entities (PIEs) has grown. There has been a decrease in the growth rate of audit fee income for the Big Four firms; however firms outside of the Big Four have experienced an increase in the growth rate.

  • Fee income from non-audit work to audit clients continued to see the greatest percentage increases for audit firms outside the Big Four (19.5%) in 2015/16, compared to 13.2% in 2014/15, whilst the Big Four experienced a slower growth rate in this area (2.6%) in 2015/16 compared with 5.5% in 2014/15.

Melanie McLaren, FRC’s Executive Director for Audit and Actuarial Regulation, said,

“A thriving accountancy and audit profession is in the UK public interest. The talent pool in, and diversity of, the accountancy profession continues to grow. The FRC plans to gather richer data on diversity in future editions of Key Facts and Trends and is seeking views on how to do so. The FRC uses the data from this report to inform its views in Developments in Audit.”

Notes to editors:
  1. The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) is the UK’s independent regulator responsible for promoting high quality corporate governance and reporting to foster investment. The FRC sets the UK Corporate Governance and Stewardship Codes and UK standards for accounting and actuarial work; monitors and takes action to promote the quality of corporate reporting; and operates independent enforcement arrangements for accountants and actuaries. As the Competent Authority for audit in the UK the FRC sets auditing and ethical standards and monitors and enforces audit quality.
  2. You can comment on Key Facts and Trends in the Accountancy Profession via a short questionnaire. An additional question has been included this year in relation to diversity that feedback would particularly be welcomed on:
  3. The FRC intends to publish its annual Developments in Audit report later this month, which will provide additional commentary on the outcome of its 2016-17 audit inspection work, as part of a broader description of the UK audit market and the different strands of the FRC’s work as competent authority for audit in the UK.