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Our profession in numbers

Graham Hambly picks out some highlights from the latest FRC ‘state of play’ report

UK accountancy firms need to prioritise increased diversity in their top ranks, particularly at partner level, according to new data released by the Financial Reporting Council (FRC).

The FRC’s ‘Key Facts and Trends in Accountancy Profession report for 2019’ reveals just 6.7% of partner roles at the largest firms came from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds (BAME). Just as worrying is the fact that no firm with under 200 employees reported that they had any BAME managers.

And while all the professional bodies have diversity policies or statements in place, of the 20 audit firms questioned some 15% still do not any such policies.

The FRC said there can be no valid reason for firms to not have a diversity policy, and urgent action is needed on this front.

FRC CEO Sir Jon Thompson said: “Firms have a responsibility to ensure they are leading by example on diversity and inclusion and that they have appropriate policies in place to address any shortcomings.”

The report also found for the first time in five years that women now make up 50% of all students studying with the professional bodies, and 37% of members. But at the biggest firms women make up less than 20% of partner positions. There are, however, encouraging signs that change is happening, with women now making up 56% of manager roles at smaller firms.

The ‘Key Facts and Trends in the Accountancy Profession’ really should be on everyone’s reading list. It comes out every year in the Autumn and provides a real snapshot of the profession you work in, and all in numbers – so what’s not to like!

Did you know, for example, there are currently 164,000 students studying for an accountancy qualification in the UK and Republic of Ireland? When it comes to members, the biggest accountancy body (in the UK and ROI) is still the ICAEW with 130,928 members (as at 31 December 2019). ACCA broke the 100,000-barrier for the first time with 101,476 members, and it has compound growth (between 2015 and 2019) of 4%, compared with ICAEW’s 1.6%.

CIMA has 83,657 members in the UK and ROI; then there is a big drop to ICAS with 19,366 and CIPFA with 12,237 members. Altogether that means the UK and ROI has 374,432 qualified accountants beavering away. Looked at another way, that is a qualified accountant for every 194 men, women and children in both countries.

The seven UK-based accountancy bodies brought in revenues of £481.4 million in 2019. However, ACCA’s income of £212.7 million is in stark contrast to the AIA’s £1.6 million. The report has also worked out the average income from members and students worldwide: ICAS brings in £683 per student/member; ICAEW £564; CIPFA £425; ACCA £315; CIMA £244; and AIA at £112.

Check out the full report at https://tinyurl.com/yyfkojeb • Graham Hambly is the Editor of PQ magazine (go to www.pqmagazine.com)

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