ICAEW.com works better with JavaScript enabled.

Statistics on the accountancy market

Sources for headline statistics on the accountancy market, including statistics for employment in the sector and net exports of accountancy services.

United Kingdom

The accountancy profession in the UK and Ireland was a report produced by Oxford Economics for the Consultative Committe of Accountancy Bodies (CCAB) in November 2018. Section 2 looks at the direct economic contribution of the accountancy sector in terms of GDP, employment, tax revenues and purchase and export of accounting services. A previous report The accountancy profession in the UK was published by CCAB in May 2017.

The economic contribution of the accountancy profession was also highlighted in the report of the Professional Services Global Competitiveness Group in March 2009. The report drew upon a number of the sources listed on this page, as well as the SPADA report British Professions Today: The State of the Sector.

Total employment

The latest statistics for total employment in the accountancy sector are published each year in the Annual Business Survey (ABS), formerly known as the Annual Business Inquiry.

Figures for total employment in the accountancy sector for 2012 onwards are available through the latest ABS releases. For each release click on 'View all data used in this publication' and select the dataset 'UK Non-Financial Business Economy (Annual Business Survey): Sections A-S'.

See Section M: Professional, scientific and technical activities under UK SIC 2007 code 6920: Accounting, bookkeeping and auditing activities; tax consultancy.

Employment data for 2009 onwards is available through the archived editions of the Annual Business Survey.

Historical figures for total employment in the accountancy sector from 1995 to 2008 are available through the archived datasets for the Annual Business Inquiry. See Section K: Financial and Insurance Activities under UK SIC 2003 code 7412.

Employment by gender

The ONS publication Labour Market Statistics includes a table which provides a combined total for the employment of chartered and certified Accountants in the UK, subdivided by gender.

This data is published in Table EMP04: Employment by Occupation once a year.

Services provided to clients

The statistics that are often quoted for the price that customers pay for services from the accountancy profession tend to be based on the total combined fee income of the top 60 firms and then expressed as being in excess of this figure to take account of the smaller firms for whom figures are not readily available. To find out how to access these figures, see the section in this guide on Accountancy firms by fee income.

Net exports of accountancy services

The Office for National Statistics Balance of Payments Yearbook (also known as The Pink Book) gives a breakdown of imports and exports by trade. The figures for the accountancy market can be found in Table 3.9: Other Business Services (in Chapter 3: Trade in services).

There are separate figures for accountancy services for import and export. A figure for net exports of accountancy services can be calculated by subtracting imports from exports.

Further statistics and summaries

Key Note produces a series of annual market intelligence reports on the accountancy market. The executive summary of the latest edition can be viewed online free of charge but full reports are only available via direct subscription from Key Note.

The Library holds some reference copies of past editions from 2001 to 2016 which are held in an offsite store. Contact the enquiry team by phone on +44 (0)20 7920 8620, by fax on +44 (0)20 7920 8621 or by email at library@icaew.com for more information.

Europe

Size of national accountancy markets

The library provides access to a series of industry profiles covering some European countries (including Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK). These profiles provide a total value for the national accountancy market and a figure for the national accountancy market's percentage share of the overall European accountancy market.

Access to articles and reports is provided to logged-in ICAEW members, ACA students and other entitled users subject to suppliers' terms of use.

The EUROSTAT Structural Business Statistics database holds data on turnover by industry sector. Figures for the “Accounting, bookkeeping and auditing activities; tax consultancy” sector (NACE Code M69.2) can be generated from the dataset on 'Turnover by product and economic activity' (to get to this, use the option 'SBS – services' followed by 'Business services statistics').

Fee income and staff

The publication ‘International Accounting Bulletin’ produces an annual world survey with tables giving number of staff and revenue for the top networks and associations by region, including Europe.

  • World Survey 2017. Published in the February 2017 issue
  • World Survey 2016. Published in the February 2016 issue (p6-21) with figures for 2014 and 2015.
  • World Survey 2015. Published in the January 2015 issue (p5-24) with figures for 2013 and 2014. A free-to-access summary of the key figures has been published online at IAB World Survey: Deloitte holds on to top spot for second year running
  • World Survey 2012. Published in the January 2012 issue.

Global

A range of figures for the top 100 firms in the global market can be extracted from the totals published in the inaugural list of the top 100 largest professional services firms in the world (International Accounting Bulletin 452, 21 August 2009). This would include figures for the combined fee income of the top 100, combined employment of the top 100 and combined partner numbers of the top 100.

The ICAEW Library & Information Service holds a run of the International Accounting Bulletin from 1983 to date. The latest edition is available in the Library.

To find out more about the availability of older issues please see Library holdings: International Accounting Bulletin.

For information on obtaining copies of individual issues of the International Accounting Bulletin please contact the publishers, Timetric.

Can't find what you are looking for?

If you're having trouble finding the information you need, ask the Library & Information Service. Contact us by telephone on +44 (0)20 7920 8620, by web chat or by email at library@icaew.com.

ICAEW accepts no responsibility for the content on any site to which a hypertext link from this site exists. The links are provided ‘as is’ with no warranty, express or implied, for the information provided within them. Please see the full copyright and disclaimer notice.