This is a very large professional sector by numbers working in the industry. There are reportedly over 300,000 chartered accountants working in the UK. Such levels are sustained by the need for qualified professionals to be resident within small medium sized and larger companies across all industry sectors, while the tendency for the UK to encourage entrepreneurship keeps specialist accountancy firms very busy supporting start-ups. Increased regulatory-driven auditing and increased focus on ‘good governance’ drives the need for large teams of consultants to provide corporate services making the larger accountancy firms more and more profitable. Widely regarded as a bellwether for the UK economy – when their clients do well, the firms do well. The general outlook for Accounting professionals in the UK is therefore as strong as the average business outlook is for the UK. With Brexit, the recent UK general election and international trade tensions affecting the wider economy, the accounting sector was cooler in 2019. We await to see how 2020 starts to pan out with great interest. The below chart displays the types of accounting roles we currently have open and their salary levels as at the beginning of 2020. The average salary in the accounting sector across all jobs and UK locations is £60,250 per annum.
Accounting Open Roles versus Salary, January 2020
The best salaries going forward this year look to be in the areas of compliance, financial management & control, Financial planning and analysis (FP&A) and audit.

The opportunities for qualified accountants continue to be present in 2020 and qualification is the key for a successful long term career in the field. Around 83% of blue chip companies target ACA qualified people for their senior positions. Whichever route you choose, you will need one of the accounting professional qualifications in order to pursue a successful career. The three big ones are ACA, ACCA and CIMA:

CIMA involves passing 14 exams, although some of these may be exempt depending on the degree(s) taken. CIMA is more focused on management accounting, business strategy and financial strategy than the ACCA syllabus. CIMA qualified accountants tend to lean towards forward thinking and strategy based roles. CIMA jobs are best suited for Business and Industry.

Also comprising up to 14 exams dependent on degree(s) taken, in comparison with CIMA, ACCA is more focused on financial accounting and technical practices of accountancy. ACCA tends to suggest a stronger grounding in accounting principles than CIMA, but at the cost of management reporting and corporate strategy. ACA is therefore more suited for practice, audit or tax.

If you are looking to work in the "Big Four", the ACA is good bet. There are 15 exams and 450 days of relevant work experience is required to gain qualification. Also to be considered, your employer has to be an approved institute for training purposes. ACA qualified professionals are in high demand due to it generally being regarded as the premier qualification to hold. ACA jobs pay well.

The chart below shows the most in demand skills, experience and qualification in January 2020. This information has been condensed from our own live vacancies. Again it is the professional qualification that employers emphasize more than anything else, with the order of demand being ACA, then ACCA, then CIMA. Financial Reporting experience is widely sought with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) being paramount.

Accounting Qualification, Skills & Experience Demand, January 2020

BCT Resourcing sees a constant demand for professionals skilled in accountancy and consistently has numerous vacancies available in this buoyant sector. You may browse, view and/or apply for our live accounting roles.

Alternatively please register with us to find out more about our opportunities in accounting.