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Accountancy profession's talent pool expands

20 July 2017

Worldwide, more than half a million accountancy professionals are now members of 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, 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.”

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