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How many, how much: Qualifications & salaries in finance

Published on: 17 May 2019

Our recently published Salary Insight Report gave us an insight into the professional accounting qualifications held by our audience, their popularity in the different British regions and the average salaries associated with each qualification.

Masters of their craft

Education levels

According to the Office for National Statistics, around 42% of the UK workforce are university graduates. In comparison, 83% of the GAAPweb audience currently hold an undergraduate degree or above – 41% higher than the national average and a 3% year-on-year climb.

Breaking down this number further, 58% of our audience are educated to undergraduate degree level, while 18% possess a master’s degree and an elite 7% have successfully studied towards an MBA.

Locations, vocations and professional qualifications

Professional qualifications

At 35% – a 7% annual rise – the most popular accounting qualification amongst our audience is ACCA. Interestingly though, at an average of £57,598, ACCA salaries are at the lower end of the salary by qualification table.

ACCA salaries appeared to have stagnated year-on-year, but the qualification’s relatively short completion time may be favoured by younger respondents breaking into the profession. Check out our guide to the ACCA qualification to discover why more finance and accountancy professionals are choosing ACCA.

Following shortly at 32% and seeing annual growth of 4%, CIMA is the second most prevalent professional qualification amongst respondents to our survey. CIMA qualified accountants reported average salaries of £68,291 in 2018 – up slightly from £66,948 the year before.

With average salaries of £87,040, the 22% of our audience holding an ACA qualification were the highest compensated professionals by their qualification, while conversely, the 9% of AAT qualified accountants earned £32,771 – the lowest average salary by qualification in 2018.

CIPFA and CTA qualified respondents were in the minority, each representing just 1% of our audience. Professionals holding either of these qualifications reported average annual salaries of just over £64,000.

Salaries by qualification

In terms of location, London-based accountants are most likely to be ACCA qualified, while in the rest of the South East, finance professionals sway towards the CIMA qualification.

Elsewhere in England, CIMA is favoured by the members of our audience currently carving their careers in the North West, South West and the Midlands, while those in the North East show preference for ACCA.

Meanwhile, finance and accountancy professionals in both Scotland and Wales are most likely to be ACCA qualified.

Discover more

For further exclusive industry insights, download a free copy of the GAAPweb Salary Insight Report today.