Accountancy Profession Remains Attractive

The number of people employed in the UK accountancy sector is continuing to grow but the level of fee income generated by the top firms is falling, new figures have revealed.

Statistics published by the UK Professional Oversight Board (POB), an operating board of the Financial Reporting Council, show that membership of the seven leading accountancy bodies in the UK and Ireland rose by 3.1 per cent in 2010, while and student numbers grew by 2 per cent.

Across the globe, membership increased by 3.6 per cent and student numbers rose by 6.2 per cent year-on-year.

However, fee income dropped by 1.3 per cent among the Big Four accountancy firms and 7.1 for the three non-Big Four firms.

The number of registered audit firms in the UK and Ireland also continued to decline. A total of 7,457 audit companies were registered last year, down 21.9 per cent from peak levels seen in 2005.

Commenting on the data, Paul George, the FRC’s director of auditing and director of the Oversight Board, said: “Despite the difficult economic conditions, the profession remains attractive with the overall number of members and students continuing to increase both in the UK and Republic of Ireland and worldwide.”

“However, the economic downturn, in overall terms, is reflected in both the total fee income and audit fee income of registered audit firms.”