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Great expectations for Accountants’ bonuses

  • Accountants expect bonuses of 18.1% this season - up 1.1 percentage points compared with last year
  • Average bonus expected to be £11,587, up from £11,012 in 2012

UK accountants expect to receive an average bonus of 18.1% this season (Christmas 2013- 2014 Q1), according to research from specialist accountancy and finance recruiter Marks Sattin.* This would be the highest level in percentage terms since 2010 when the average bonus hit 19%.

Expected bonuses this year represent a 3.1% increase on last year’s expectations of 15% which would translate into a 1.1% increase on the 17% bonus actually paid.

In cash terms, the average bonus expected this year is £11,587 which would be an increase of £575 compared with last year. Despite expectations being lower than 2010 in percentage terms, they are £1,149 higher in cash terms due to rising base salaries. [see table 1]

The total bonus pot is anticipated to be around £3.4 billion in 213/14, compared with £3.1 billion last year.

Figure 1: Average Accountancy Bonuses 2010-2014

This confidence reflects positivity in the accountancy profession as a whole. Profits per partner have risen by as much as 9% within the big four firms, there has been an increase in M&A activity and large headcount increases have been announced. There are almost 12,000 new roles projected to be created according to Marks Sattin.

Dave Way, Managing Director of Marks Sattin comments, “Last year, accountants’ bonuses exceeded their own expectations, and this year they’ve revised them up accordingly. It’s been a strong year for the sector, with the recovery taking hold and economic activity on the rise so confidence is high. A strong bonus season will really cement the feeling that we’ve turned a corner.”


Separate research by Marks Sattin** has found that the importance of financial incentives for accountants has grown in the past year, with 30% now saying this was a key reason for leaving their last role compared with 28% last year. This is now the second most common reason for changing jobs, leapfrogging “seeking a new challenge” which is a key reason for 29% of professionals.  The most common reason to leave however, is still for career development (33%).

Dave Way adds: “Remuneration is growing in importance for accounting professionals and managers should be aware of this when it comes to bonus season. However, the itch of a stagnant career is something no amount of money will scratch, so equally important is a focus on talent management and career progression.” 

*Based on poll of 656 accountants conducted in November 2013
**Marks Sattin Salary Survey 2013

*Based on poll of 656 accountants conducted in November 2013**Marks Sattin Salary Survey 2013


*Based on poll of 656 accountants conducted in November 2013**Marks Sattin Salary Survey 2013
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