ACCA - The global body for professional accountants
The picture presented suggests ACCA accountants have rewarding roles and good levels of remuneration in the diverse markets we sampled
—Neil Stevenson, executive director - brand, ACCA

Research published today by ACCA offers an insight into the working lives, career expectations and salaries of accountants around the world.

Neil Stevenson, executive director – brand at ACCA said of the report: 'Essentially, this research serves as a guide to the salaries and career packages accountants can expect in a range of roles and sectors. It brings together research from our members in 20 countries around the world, presenting a picture of career opportunity for the accountancy profession.

'The picture presented suggests ACCA accountants have rewarding roles and good levels of remuneration in the diverse markets we sampled. This reflects the increasing value business places on the skills of accountants as business managers at a time of global economic instability.'

The findings also show that accountants are optimistic about their future career prospects. Many have entrepreneurial aspirations, wishing to start their own business; many also wish to move up the career ladder seeing a clear career progression for them in the future. The survey reveals that professional accountants have ambitions to broaden their horizons across borders and sectors, and work in different roles in their organisations to increase career satisfaction and opportunity.

'We believe that professional accountants with diverse backgrounds and skills will increase their value to business,' Stevenson continued.

Statistics show that ACCA members have have varied careers and they are also optimistic about plans for the future:

  • ACCA members are keen to experience a varied career with different roles in business and finance. This is the majority view across all age groups, although members in senior management positions agreed more strongly – 82 per cent of CEOs and chairmen and 71 per cent of CFOs and finance directors.
  • Many respondents have future aspirations as entrepreneurs, with 42 per cent planning to start their own business in the future – more men than woman want to do this, especially those under 35, as well as individuals in senior management (CEO or chairman – 58 per cent), and members in public practice (53 per cent). 
  • Individuals in financial services were most likely to change roles, and those in public practice least likely. 
  • Respondents are also ambitious; 82 per cent surveyed plan to work in a more senior position in the same area and 63 per cent want to lead a finance team if they are not doing so already.

Salaries are healthy: 

  • 61 per cent of ACCA members surveyed enjoyed a salary increase in the preceding 12 months and 35 per cent maintaining their previous salary. Increases were often due to company-wide increases, or a performance-related uplift. This compares with only five per cent globally who had seen a reduction in their salary.
  • Financial Services and Public Practice employers were awarded the highest salary increases. 
  • Members are positive about future salary increases – 62 per cent expect a pay increase in 2011. 
  • In markets where the economy is rapidly expanding, a vast proportion of ACCA members obtained a pay rise in 2010/11. For example, ACCA members in Singapore fared well in terms of salary increase, with 73 per cent of those surveyed receiving a pay rise, compared to 61 per cent for the global average score.

Bonuses, benefits and conditions vary between countries:

  • ACCA members work on average 44 hours a week, but working weeks are long in South East Asia – 48 hours in Singapore and Malaysia, and Pakistan at 49 hours, The UK works 42 hours per week, the Republic of Ireland and Canada 43 hours respectively, and Australia 44 hours. 
  • Employees in the corporate sector typically work the longest hours, while those in not for profit organisations work the shortest weeks. 
  • Of ACCA members receiving a bonus, 59 per cent received a higher bonus in 2010 than in 2009.

Neil Stevenson concludes: 'The ACCA Qualification can provide a passport to career progression, career satisfaction and fulfilled career ambitions. Members surveyed around the world appear to be motivated, positive and upbeat about the future and this positivity can only be good news in the current environment. We believe that this diversity and ambition will bring huge value to employers around the world.'

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