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The need for tight financial control has led to much more stability in accountancy and finance practices than in many other parts of the economy, as firms’ work has become crucial to the survival of their clients.

This demand means that most firms have recruitment needs, meaning the salaries and benefits they offer to attract and retain staff are critical. The Reed Accountancy & Finance Salary Guide 2021 includes regional salary trends and insights across seven different practice areas. Here is a key finding from each:

1. SMEs are increasingly outsourcing to practices in Greater London

An increase in the number of SMEs in Greater London turning to practices has created a need for candidates with experience in handling outsourced business services. Starting salaries for those undertaking AAT or CAT foundation or intermediate level qualifications are between £17,000 and £23,000, while professionals who have progressed to senior (newly qualified) level can expect to receive anything between £37,000 and £44,000.

2. Audit professionals in demand

As ever, the scarcity of audit professionals across the UK has led to firms being required to offer generous salary and benefits packages to encourage professionals to change roles. In the South East, part-qualified audit and assurance professionals undertaking ACA, ACCA and CA qualifications can earn a maximum of £38,000, which jumps to £48,000 when they are fully-qualified and reach senior level.

3. A need for personal tax advisory specialists in the East Midlands

Rob Russell, Regional Managing Director at Reed, highlights in the guide that firms in the East Midlands are increasingly seeking personal tax experts. Salaries for high-ranking professionals in this area are more economical than in other parts of the UK, with personal tax specialists at director and partner level receiving anywhere between £60,000 and £80,000.

4. Tax experts in Scotland know their worth

Like many other areas of the UK, there is a shortage of tax professionals in Scotland. This means candidates know their worth, increasing salaries required to either attract or retain them. This can lead to some huge salary variations, with CTA qualified corporate and indirect tax specialists able to earn anywhere between £38,000 and £65,000.

5. Remote working could lead to firms relocating

London-based practices could use the remote-working revolution to dispense with expensive offices in the capital. Reed Regional Managing Director for East Anglia, Matt White, believes there is a real possibility this could include firms opting for less-costly office space in East Anglia. This could also reduce salary costs for new joiners, with corporate finance experts at senior manager level in the region earning a maximum of £76,000, compared with £100,000 in London.

6. Pandemic creates a greater need for insolvency services

“Insolvency companies will soon have a lot more business due to the current economic climate,” Mike Harrison, Reed Regional Managing Director for the North East says of firms in the region. Given this trend, corporate recovery and insolvency could be an area where professionals starting out with a qualification could look to specialise. In the North East, first year ACCA, ACA and CA trainees can expect a minimum of £16,000, with maximum salaries reaching £21,000.

7. ACCA, ACA and CA trainees struggling with remote support

Reed Regional Managing Director for the North West, Alexa Naylor, notes that many professionals in the area are finding remote studies for their ACCA, ACA and CA qualifications difficult. This may increase demand for qualified and part-qualified candidates. Those firms seeking forensics and investigations specialists at part-qualified level can expect to pay a minimum starting salary of £22,000, with newly qualified candidates at senior level earning up to £32,000.

For more information on salaries for accountancy and finance practice professionals, download Reed's free Accountancy & Finance Practice Salary Guide 2024. The guide contains industry insights from across the UK and will help you make informed decisions in the year ahead.