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Accountancy bonus pot increases to £2.4 billion for 2015/16

25/08/16

Accountants in the UK are feeling the benefits of a record £2.4 billion bonus pot in 2015/2016, an increase of £200 million on 2014/2015. The overall bonus pot has increased by £800 million since 2009/10 when it stood at £1.6 billion. 

For the 2015/16 financial year the average individual bonus for accountants was 20% of basic salary – the equivalent of £13,000. This is up from £10,730 (16% of basic salary) in 2014/2015, representing an increase of 21% in monetary terms. This is also the highest individual bonus figure recorded since 2011/12.

Chart 1: Accountants’ total bonus pot, 2011-16

Remuneration packages are increasingly focused on the bonus element, which now makes up a greater proportion of professionals’ remuneration packages. The average accountant’s basic salary has fallen slightly on an annual basis from £67,080 last year to £65,010, a decrease of £2,070 (3%). However total earnings (basic salary and bonus combined) are still on the up, increasing to £78,010 this year from last year when the average was £77,820.

Matthew Wilcox, Managing Director of Marks Sattin, said: “Macroeconomic factors including the upcoming EU referendum mean that 2016 so far has been an uncertain time for business and the outlook beyond the 23rd June remains a major question mark. However, one thing is clear – employers in the accountancy sector are unwilling to risk their top talent at a time when major changes to global economic conditions are likely. 
“The bonus pot has continued to grow in size since the dark days of the recession and employers are eager to ensure their key employees continue to feel valued and don’t see this strong upward trend in remuneration slip. In general we have found that strong employees have been consistently recognised and rewarded by their current employers over the past year, with highly competitive salaries, more varied roles and more frequent and higher bonus payments.”

Remuneration positivity but business outlook less clear

Following the positivity around bonuses, nearly three quarters (71%) of accountants are expecting a salary increase this year – showing a level of confidence that their remuneration packages will continue to rise. This contributes to the fact that 80% of accountants are satisfied in their current role (22% are very satisfied) and 79% of accountants would go so far as to recommend their employer to a friend.

In contrast, 23% of respondents felt less confident about the economic prospects facing their company (compared to 16% in Marks Sattin’s 2015 salary survey) and 36% anticipate budget cuts this year. 

Despite overall job satisfaction, accountants remain ambitious and are keen to take a step up in their careers. 38% of accountants say they will be actively looking for a job over the next 12 months and 37% say they will move if the right opportunity presents itself. The average accountant would want a salary increase of 13% in order to move role – which is equal to £8,451 a year. 

Matthew Wilcox adds: “Accountants are acutely aware of the perception that the global economic outlook is worsening and that this is having a knock on effect on their employers. Despite this they feel confident that the burden will not be passed onto them due to their extremely valuable skillsets. 

“Employers continue to seek to bolster their talent pools in these uncertain economic times and professionals are aware of the demand for talent out there. Many are therefore on the lookout for a new role this year and might be willing to make a move if the opportunity and the offer is right.”

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