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September 27, 2016updated 21 Jan 2021 2:11pm

Accountants and auditors: which are the best paying jobs?

By Alice Leguay, co-founder & COO at Emolument.com

Salary benchmarking website Emolument.com has analysed 1,401 London salary entries from professionals working as auditors and accountants both as external consultants and internal employees. We found that internal auditors earn more than consulting auditors.

Also, when starting out as a consulting auditor, the Big Four are not necessarily the best payers — but it's not all about the money: blue chip names, mentoring and training processes as well as the professional network they provide should not be overlooked.

Internal auditors are better off when it comes to pay than consulting auditors, especially in the financial sector. As senior consultants, external auditors make 21% less, while the gap in total compensation increases to 28% for managerial positions.

Consulting auditors do not earn bonuses (or very few do) in the early years until they get promoted to manager, in line with most consultancy practices. Even then the bonus is only 4% of their total earnings. Internal auditors however, earn bonuses making up to 7 to 9% of total annual earnings (for junior managers and managers respectively).

In financial accounting, being employed by a company or being employed externally by a consultancy is financially irrelevant for the first five years. As accounting professionals rise through the ranks to manager level though, working as a consultant is 30% more lucrative.

From the junior levels to senior consultants, there is no noticeable pay difference between working for the Big Four firms or a smaller accountancy practice.

In conclusion, not only do companies have to pay competitively to attract and retain the best staff, but they also need to adapt their recruitment and retention strategies and find out what accountants want to do right now, in five years, and ten years' time. And then help with building a career progression tailored to that individual; not just a one-size fits all programme for staff.

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