The gender pay gap in accountancy & finance

GAAPweb’s recent salary survey reveals that the gender pay gap within financial services outstrips the national average by some 35%. The comprehensive research report, which shares insights from more than 4,000 UK accountancy & finance professionals, uncovers that women in finance face a drastically deepening pay divide as they climb the career ladder.

Survey results show that women are paid around £17,400 less than men across all GAAPweb job titles, with males earning an average of £67,384, compared to £49,975 for females. The 35% variance is significantly higher than the 19.2% gender pay gap reported by the Office for National Statistics.

A balanced start
Interestingly, both sides begin on a comparable footing, with junior roles demonstrating relative equality in both the gender split and annual earnings. While Purchase Ledger has the greatest parity (52% male and 48% female), Accounts Payable and Bookkeeper roles are actually dominated by female professionals – representing 74% and 71% respectively. Accounts Payable, Payroll and Purchase Ledger positions also reward women marginally better, with average salaries falling in their favour by £3,000 to £8,000. For example, a male Payroll employee can expect to earn £30,500 per year, while his female counterpart will take home £33,571.

The splintering of mid- and senior-level salaries
At mid-level, however, the figures make a striking about-face. With the exception of Management Accountant roles, where women make in the region of £39,967 (1.6% more than men), males out-earn females across almost every category. For example, the average salary for a female Credit Controller is £27,500, compared to £39,792 for a male in the same job. Finance Manager positions show a £52,823 versus £58,660 divide and Tax roles highlight a contrast of £45,167 versus £39,706.

And while the gap narrows slightly for newly-qualified Accountants and Finance Analysts, Treasury roles show the biggest overall gender pay gap, with men earning 52% more – £63,370 compared to £41,607.

Approaching the C-suite, salary differences – and the gender balance – grow even starker. Among survey participants, 91% of CFOs and 84% of Finance Directors were male, demonstrating a shocking deficit of board-level women. From Financial Planning and Analysis where males were roughly £7,000 better off each year to CFO roles where the gap almost doubled (£105,192 for women versus £119,424), our research lays bare the limited earning potential for females in finance.

The single exception within the survey was Financial Risk where women take home an average salary of £71,563 (7% more than men). The research also revealed that regardless of gender, jobseekers who found a role through GAAPweb make 26% more than candidates who secured a job elsewhere.

Turning the tide
Overall, women earn more than men in only seven of the 22 possible job titles surveyed. But despite the steep slope to pay equality, 54% of the newly-qualified professionals within our survey sample were female, suggesting more women are joining the profession. And a number of industry influencers are championing their cause.

To promote gender diversity following our research, GAAPweb – alongside a range of forward-thinking organisations – has pledged to improve gender diversity at senior level by signing up to the Women in Finance Charter. With 93 current member firms, the charter encourages government and business to work together to build a fairer and more balanced industry.

GAAPweb is proud of our 50% gender diversity within the senior management team of Trinity Mirror Digital Recruitment (the legal entity of GAAPweb). We’re also committed to promoting charter membership to our Banking & Financial Services clients who use GAAPweb to recruit their own senior finance teams.

Find out how you can help pay the way to equal pay, visit

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Benchmark your salary with our audience insight report

A salary survey by GAAPweb, the UK’s #1 job site for finance and accountancy professionals, highlights that job seekers who’ve found a job through GAAPweb earn 26% more than candidates who’ve found a job elsewhere.

The survey gained insights from over 4,000 accountancy & finance professionals from graduate to CFOs across the UK.

Highlights included:

– ACCA was reported as the most popular professional qualification to hold (44%) but ACA was the most lucrative, averaging a salary of £85,197.
– Finance Business Partners were the most likely to receive a pay rise in the last 12 months (71%) and accountancy & finance professionals in London can average a higher salary (£67,141) than the rest of the UK and overseas.

Want to benchmark your salary? Download the report.

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Senior finance professionals look to other industries to combat skills shortages

  • 61% of CFOs say that they have struggled to source candidates from traditional talent pools
  • 52% of senior finance managers would be prepared to consider candidates from another industry to fill a job.
  • However just 27% would be prepared to take on staff with a background in another profession.

Research from Robert Walters has found that 61% of CFOs have struggled to recruit candidates from traditional talent pools.

To combat these skills shortages, more than half of senior finance managers are prepared to consider candidates from another industry when recruiting into their finance teams.

Marcus Blackburn, Associate Director, Accountancy and Finance recruitment, Robert Walters, comments:

“The current candidate-short market has influenced many employers to relax previously strict policies of only hiring professionals who met the exact specifications for a role. Increasingly we are seeing hiring managers being prepared to look at candidates with transferable skills and experience which is not directly related to the role in question.”

“By broadening their hiring criteria these employers are able to access a wider talent pool, sourcing top professionals who would otherwise have been ruled out at the earliest stages of recruitment.”

Hiring Managers still cautious to recruit from other professions

However, despite the acknowledged skills shortage, the survey also found that senior finance managers are still somewhat reluctant to recruit professionals from other disciplines however. Just 27% said that they would consider a candidate from a different professional background.

Marcus Blackburn continues:

“Clearly there are certain roles where accountancy qualifications are essential to the job giving hiring managers limited scope to be flexible.”

“However, there are more junior and commercially focused roles in finance teams where these qualifications are not a prerequisite.”

“A relatively small but growing number of firms are taking advantage of this opportunity, recruiting highly skilled professionals with valuable transferable skills from backgrounds such as law and IT.”

“In many cases these candidates are able to bring unique experience and add new perspectives to the teams they join, giving them a significant advantage over more homogenous finance teams.”

“As skills shortages continue and the emphasis on finance departments providing strategic insights to the business grows finance managers can put themselves in a stronger position to deliver on objectives by expanding their hiring criteria to include professionals from different professions.”

Search the latest accountancy & finance roles from Robert Walters

Recruitment and the Referendum – What’s Next?

The only certainty is uncertainty in the short term, however, from a recruitment perspective for those organisations looking at hiring strategy or indeed those candidates looking to make their next career move at Marks Sattin we asked the question on everyone’s lips – what’s next? Marks Sattin proactively conducted a survey of 195 finance professionals on the morning of the referendum result to gauge opinion and gut reaction across our client base which spans financial services, commerce and industry and professional services – the results are perhaps unexpected and certainly make for interesting reading.

There’s an old French proverb “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” which means “the more things change, the more they stay the same”.  Given the media coverage, one would be forgiven for thinking that the business world is full of doom and gloom and preparing for major change however our survey found that an overwhelming majority of finance professionals (74%) believed the referendum result would result in no change in headcount, 19% thought there would be headcount reductions in Half 2 and just 7% thought there would be an increase. 

In terms of outlook from a personal perspective, things are looking positive for the finance profession with 88% of those surveyed believing that salary levels would remain the same and 67% expecting that there would be no change in retention levels at least in the next six months.

The general sentiment was that it was too early to predict what exactly would happen as there is too much uncertainty. When asked if particular skills would rise to top in terms of demand following the decision, there was no clear winner with a quarter of respondents either stating there would be no change or it was too early to be sure. 

Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, the mechanism for governing a country’s exit from the EU, is an unknown entity and until the UK political landscape is settled and new prime minster takes over the realm and eventually invokes the treaty the future remains uncertain. It is clear that our clients and candidates are naturally cautious but remain optimistic about the outlook. The sentiment from our conversations on the day of the decision and in the following days has borne this out. Many businesses are keeping a watching brief and are prepared for a minimum 18 month to 2 year transition with an eye on the potential impact on the rest of the EU. The general consensus was to carry on business as usual at least for the immediate future.

Search the latest roles from Marks Sattin

Accountancy bonus pot reaches £2.4 billion

Bonuses are a crucial part of accounting and finance professionals’ packages. The size of bonuses are often a bellwether for the performance of different sectors as a whole, with professionals usually taking home a greater share of the spoils during good times.

According to specialist finance recruiter Marks Sattin’s latest salary survey, this year accountants are feeling the benefits of a record £2.4 billion bonus pot, with the average accountant receiving a bonus worth 20% of their basic salary – or £13,000. This takes the average total earnings to £78,010.  The average bonus is now 21% higher than a year ago, when it stood at £10,730. In the longer term, there has also been an upward trend in bonuses. The overall bonus pot shared by accounting professionals has increased by £800 million from 2009/10, when it stood at £1.6 billion. While the global economy still faces potential pitfalls like the fallout from a potential Brexit, this increase suggests that pay and benefits are better than during the depths of the recession. 

The research also reveals that 69% of accountants are entitled to a bonus through a company bonus scheme, and that 55% received one. In terms of the sectors with the highest levels of bonuses, banking & finance has the most eye-catching figures. 13% of accountants practicing in this sector received a bonus greater than 50% of their salary, compared to 6% in both private practice and commerce & industry. Marks Sattin’s Market Insight report delves into the key motivations and career drivers of the finance community including a detailed look into the salaries, bonuses and employer benefits across the market.

For the latest accountancy roles from Marks Sattin, click here.

Benchmark your accountancy salary with Sellick Partnership

Sellick Partnership release annual Salary Guide and Market Insight Report, which shows need for creative remuneration package structures

Finance and legal recruitment specialist, Sellick Partnership, have launched their annual Salary Guide and Market Insight Report, showing jobseekers in the finance industry are looking for the full package when it comes to their next employer. In addition to a competitive salary, today’s jobseeker considers factors such as development opportunities, flexible working policies, private healthcare, corporate social responsibility and the employer’s brand when weighing up job offers.

Competition for talent is severe, and employers are facing the dual challenge of significant skill shortages, as well as retaining top professionals. Top candidates who possess niche, hard-to-find skills such as technical reporting regularly receive multiple job offers and are in a strong position to negotiate starting salary. Companies therefore must realise competitive remuneration packages are essential to attract and retain the best talent/candidates.

Hugh Almond, Specialist Financial Recruitment Consultant at Sellick Partnership adds: “It’s natural for employers to assume that annual pay reviews are the best way to retain staff, but it’s vital that the whole remuneration package is considered – by failing to do this they risk losing star employees and attracting fresh talent. With skills shortages and tough competition, finance firms must recognise the appeal of non-financial perks and work these into staff packages if they want to keep hold of the very best talent and maintain a competitive edge.”

For more information visit the Sellick Partnership website to download the Salary Guide and Market Insight Report.

About Sellick Partnership

Established in 2002, Sellick Partnership provides a range of recruitment solutions within the private, public and not-for-profit sectors, specialising in placing professionals into a variety of positions on a temporary, interim, contract and permanent basis. With a head office in Manchester, Sellick Partnership employs 70 people across its network of seven offices in the East Midlands, Liverpool, Leeds, Midlands, Newcastle and London. Sellick Partnership have been recognised as one of 2015’s ‘100 Best Workplaces in the UK’ by the Great Place to Work® Institute, as well as listed in the ‘1000 Companies to Inspire Britain’ report by the London Stock Exchange. Having also achieved Investors in People Silver and attained ISO 9001, Sellick Partnership are proud to demonstrate their commitment to quality, developing long standing relationships and delivering results.

Search the latest accountancy & finance roles from Sellick Partnership

Accountants champion professional membership bodies

Research from GAAPweb, the UK’s #1 job site for finance and accountancy professionals, has found that 79% of respondents believed professional membership bodies supported their career in accountancy.

The survey audience of over 450 accountancy and finance professionals included members of ACCA, CIMA, ICAEW, AAT, IFA and AIA from Part-Qualified to Chief Financial Officer across a range of industries.

In addition, 74% of respondents stated that their memberships were good value for money and 83% stated their membership met their requirements. The full report is available below:

In terms of the benefits offered, respondents recommended the publications (39%), technical resources (22%), and Continuing Professional Development courses (19%) their memberships provided. Reasons for having a professional body membership included the recognition gained in the industry (25%), the respected credentials provided (20%) and the Continuing Professional Development offered (18%).

Those at the start of their accountancy career (Graduates, Part Qualified and Newly Qualified) appreciated clear reasons and benefits for joining specific professional bodies, along with careers advice, and support once qualified.

Respondents from PQ through to CFO also expressed an interest in more tiered membership options based on industry sector, job role and level of experience to help define the career path of the modern day accountancy and finance professional.

Lack of soft-skills can cost accountants £571m a year

Latest research from Marks Sattin, specialist finance recruiters, concludes there is a lack of emphasis on soft skills in accountancy training.

Soft skills such as communication, team working and decision making are all key traits that employers look for when recruiting.

In a study of nearly 200 accountants:

  • Only 46% of accountants believe the training they received sufficiently covered soft skills.
  • Two thirds of accountants believe they would earn up to 8% more if they were better equipped with these soft skills (equivalent of £4,700) which translates as £571m across the profession.

Dave Way, MD at Marks Sattin emphasises the importance of these soft skills

“A robot can analyse data, but only an emotionally proficient person can sensitively manage a client relationship, deploying empathy, and apply creativity to crack tricky problems. These skills help accountants progress in their careers, but also future-proof their jobs against the emerging white-collar fear – that as technology becomes more advanced employers will increasingly look to machines as a people replacement.”

However accountants believe that soft skills training has started to get more attention, with over half believing the situation has improved in the last 5 years.

View the latest jobs from Marks Sattin

Telecoms, Property and Tech companies most at risk of non-compliance with IFRS 15

Research from a survey of over 300 UK CFOs, FDs and senior finance professionals including major corporations such as BT, BBC, VISA and AstraZeneca has found that telecoms, property and technology companies are most at risk of non-compliance with the stringent new IFRS 15 accounting standard.    

By 1 January 2017 all UK companies will need to comply with the new global framework for revenue recognition accounting which will replace all existing IFRS and US GAAP guidelines. Businesses have no choice but to create new processes that can supplement existing systems to cope with the complexity and additional data volumes that the new accounting rules will bring.

Despite the changes coming into effect in less than 20 months, the survey which was conducted by GAAPweb, the UK’s #1 job site for finance and accountancy professionals, in association with Cedar, the senior finance recruitment business, found that over a third (36%) of respondents were unaware of any change to the way revenue will be recognised.

Of those respondents that were aware, 73% did not envisage the change having a significant impact on their business. These findings contradict recent guidance from the IASB and FASB about the impact the new standard could have especially in the telecommunications, technology and property sectors due to their complex goods bundles.

Over half of those surveyed (52%) had made no preparations for the change, whilst only a third (35%) had only just started to review the new requirements.    86% of those surveyed expected existing finance teams to absorb the additional workload caused by the new standard. Although, at this early stage, 24% of respondents expressed a need to recruit and stated that experts in transformation, IFRS & GAAP would be most in demand. To download the full report, click here.

Howard Bentwood, managing partner at Cedar, said: “The results of this report further highlight the need for companies to better understand the enormity of the impact that IFRS 15 will have on their finance functions. As a business we have noticed a spike in demand for skilled senior finance professionals with experience in system development and implementation. Many of Cedar’s clients in the telco/telecoms and property sectors are acutely aware of the impact that IFRS 15 will have on their business and have already started to recruit to bolster their teams. Cedar is currently partnering with theseorganisationsto assist with their IFRS 15 recruitment strategies.”

Sarah EL-Doori, Marketing Director at GAAPweb added: “The seniority of GAAPweb’s audience allows us to conduct industry research providing insight into the key issues affecting senior finance professionals across all sectors.”

Is your business prepared for IFRS 15?

In his speech at the EY-sponsored Financial Reporting Outlook conference in November 2014, Ian Mackintosh, IASB vice-chairman praised the IFRS model for revolutionising the financial reporting landscape. He stated that IFRS has allowed for a “globally consistent language of financial reporting”. Mackintosh also announced that thanks to IFRS, “accounting is on the cusp of becoming the world’s first global profession”.

The announcement of the introduction of IFRS 15 marks the beginning of the end of almost a decade of continuous transformation in financial reporting.  As of 1st January 2017, the way companies recognise revenue is changing. The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) and US Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) have issued their joint revenue recognition standard, IFRS 15: Revenue from Contracts with Customers. Taking more than a decade of research and planning, the new standard replaces all existing IFRS and US GAAP revenue recognition.

In its simplest terms, IFRS 15 will align revenue reporting with the US reporting standard, US GAAP. The new standard eliminates global differences and conflicting requirements in recognising revenue making it much easier to compare reported revenues across countries, industries and capital markets. Revenue is an extremely important figure to shareholders and investors and other users of financial statements seeking to understand a company’s performance and prospects.

A similar change previously introduced was Sarbannes-Oxley (SOX) in 2002. When SOX was first launched, Cedar experienced an overwhelming increase in the number of senior financial hires across commerce and industry sectors to manage the transition and impact effectively. Interim managers were in high demand to implement new processes in order to be compliant. As a result, daily rates soared and experienced SOX professionals’ commanded an extra £100-200 on top of their standard interim daily rate.

Although IFRS 15 is not anticipated to have the same impact as the introduction of SOX, complying to new IFRS 15 standards will be a considerable challenge to many businesses. Businesses that offer complex ‘bundles’ of goods and services such as Telecoms and technology businesses will feel the pressure of IFRS 15 even more.  With IFRS 15 replacing all current reporting standards and with all companies having to be compliant before January 2017, Cedar anticipates a surge in recruitment as companies bolster their finance teams to implement the change process and manage new processes.

According to EY, “early preparation will be key to a successful implementation of the new standard”. Are you prepared for the change?

In order to gain insight into the impact IFRS 15 will have on UK businesses, Cedar embarked on an industry research project in partnership with GAAPweb. Together, we conducted a survey of finance leaders across FTSE 250 organisations through to private-equity backed businesses and privately owned SME’s to garnering their thoughts on the new accounting standard.

Read the full report now