News June 2016 FRC issues Key Facts and Trends report on UK accountancy profession

FRC issues Key Facts and Trends report on UK accountancy profession

29 June 2016


The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has today issued the fourteenth edition of Key Facts and Trends in the Accountancy Profession.

Membership of the professional accountancy bodies in the UK has increased in the UK and around the world, but student numbers have declined in the UK and Ireland for the past two years. The report brings together data on accountancy bodies’ membership and their business over the past four years.

Key facts and trends from the report include:

  • Combined membership of the seven accountancy bodies continues to grow steadily with 342,000 members in the UK and Ireland (up 2.4% in four years) and 497,000 members worldwide (up 3.2% in the last four years)
  • Student numbers in the UK and Ireland have fallen slightly (1.1%) with a worldwide increase of 3.1% between 2011 and 2015.
  • The number of registered audit firms continues to decline gradually with a fall of 304 firms (4.6%) since December 2014.
  • In comparison to 2014, the largest four firms experienced increases in growth across all categories of fee income, in contrast to other firms who audit public interest entities. However all saw an increase in audit fees. Audit fees remained a steady proportion of all fees.
  • More listed companies outside of the FTSE 350 were being audited by the Big Four in 2015 than in previous years.

Melanie McLaren, Executive Director, Audit at the FRC, said,

“The FRC provides independent oversight of the UK accountancy bodies and is the UK competent authority for audit, working closely with the relevant bodies in supervision of their members to promote high quality audit. Today’s report provides evidence on the size and nature of the profession which continues to grow in the UK and internationally.”

Notes to editors:

  1. The FRC is responsible for promoting high quality corporate governance and reporting to foster investment.  We are the UK competent authority for audit and 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 enforcement arrangements for accountants and actuaries; and oversee the regulatory activities of the accountancy and actuarial professional bodies.