News June 2015 FRC issues Key Facts and Trends in the Accountancy Profession

FRC issues Key Facts and Trends in the Accountancy Profession

18 June 2015

PN 37/15

The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has today published the thirteenth edition of Key Facts and Trends in the Accountancy Profession (PDF), the annual report which provides key data on the accountancy profession, its member bodies and firms.  
Information in the report illustrates the size and current state of the accountancy profession, and how it has evolved over recent years. It brings together data on the major audit firms and seven accountancy bodies including, those who offer audit qualifications and those who register and supervise audit firms.
Paul George, Executive Director Conduct said:

“Accountancy expertise and trust in the work of the profession are critical to UK economic growth and this report provides context for the work of the FRC in monitoring the profession’s health. It is encouraging that accountancy remains an attractive profession and membership continues to grow. However, student numbers have grown at a lower rate globally compared to last year and have declined slightly in the UK and the Republic of Ireland. The long-term health of the profession relies on sufficient bright young accountants coming into it to replace those who leave at the end of their careers.”

Key points:

  • Total membership of the accountancy bodies continues to grow steadily. The seven bodies included in the report have over 335,000 members in the UK and ROI and over 485,000 members worldwide.
  • There has been a decline in the number of students in the UK and Republic of Ireland, falling by 0.8% between 2010-2014. However, worldwide, the number of student qualifying with UK bodies increased by 3% in 2014.
  • The number of registered audit firms continues to decline gradually, reducing by 4.9% between 31 December 2013 and 2014.
  • Audit fee income for the Big Four firms increased by 0.1% in 2013-14 compared with an increase of 9.5% for the larger registered firms outside the Big Four.
  • The larger registered firms outside the Big Four had significant growth in all areas of fee income in 2014. This can be largely attributed to mergers and acquisitions in 2013 and the transfer of Local Authority audits from the Audit Commission to the private sector.

Notes to editors:

The FRC is responsible for promoting high quality corporate governance and reporting to foster investment.  We set the UK Corporate Governance and Stewardship Codes as well as UK standards for accounting, auditing and actuarial work.  We represent UK interests in international standard-setting.  We also monitor and take action to promote the quality of corporate reporting and auditing.  We operate independent disciplinary arrangements for accountants and actuaries; and oversee the regulatory activities of the accountancy and actuarial professional bodies.