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Statistics on the accountancy market

Sources for headline statistics on the accountancy market, including statistics for employment in the sector and net exports of accountancy services.

United Kingdom

The accountancy profession in the UK and Ireland was a report produced by Oxford Economics for the Consultative Committe of Accountancy Bodies (CCAB) in November 2018. Section 2 looks at the direct economic contribution of the accountancy sector in terms of GDP, employment, tax revenues and purchase and export of accounting services. A previous report The accountancy profession in the UK was published by CCAB in May 2017.

The economic contribution of the accountancy profession was also highlighted in the report of the Professional Services Global Competitiveness Group in March 2009. The report drew upon a number of the sources listed on this page, as well as the SPADA report British Professions Today: The State of the Sector.

Total employment

The latest statistics for total employment in the accountancy sector are published each year in the Annual Business Survey (ABS), formerly known as the Annual Business Inquiry.

Figures for total employment in the accountancy sector for 2012 onwards are available through the latest ABS releases. For each release click on 'View all data used in this publication' and select the dataset 'UK Non-Financial Business Economy (Annual Business Survey): Sections A-S'.

See Section M: Professional, scientific and technical activities under UK SIC 2007 code 6920: Accounting, bookkeeping and auditing activities; tax consultancy.

Employment data for 2009 onwards is available through the archived editions of the Annual Business Survey.

Historical figures for total employment in the accountancy sector from 1995 to 2008 are available through the archived datasets for the Annual Business Inquiry. See Section K: Financial and Insurance Activities under UK SIC 2003 code 7412.

Employment by gender

The ONS publication Labour Market Statistics includes a table which provides a combined total for the employment of chartered and certified Accountants in the UK, subdivided by gender.

This data is published in Table EMP04: Employment by Occupation once a year.

Services provided to clients

The statistics that are often quoted for the price that customers pay for services from the accountancy profession tend to be based on the total combined fee income of the top 60 firms and then expressed as being in excess of this figure to take account of the smaller firms for whom figures are not readily available. To find out how to access these figures, see the section in this guide on Accountancy firms by fee income.

Net exports of accountancy services

The Office for National Statistics Balance of Payments Yearbook (also known as The Pink Book) gives a breakdown of imports and exports by trade. The figures for the accountancy market can be found in Table 3.9: Other Business Services (in Chapter 3: Trade in services).

There are separate figures for accountancy services for import and export. A figure for net exports of accountancy services can be calculated by subtracting imports from exports.

Further statistics and summaries

UK Accounting and Financial Management Market Report. Report from Mintel covering comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the UK accounting and financial management market . The website includes a summary and the option to view a contents listing.


Size of national accountancy markets

The library provides access to a series of industry profiles covering some European countries (including Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK). These profiles provide a total value for the national accountancy market and a figure for the national accountancy market's percentage share of the overall European accountancy market.

Access to articles and reports is provided to logged-in ICAEW members, ACA students and other entitled users subject to suppliers' terms of use.

The EUROSTAT Structural Business Statistics database holds data on turnover by industry sector. Figures for the “Accounting, bookkeeping and auditing activities; tax consultancy” sector (NACE Code M69.2) can be generated from the dataset on 'Turnover by product and economic activity' (to get to this, access the database and use the option 'SBS – services' followed by 'Business services statistics').


Fee income and staff

The publication ‘International Accounting Bulletin’ produces an annual world survey with tables giving number of staff and revenue for the top networks and associations globally. Regional data is also provided for Europe, North America, Latin America, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific.

  • World Survey 2021. Published in the February 2021 issue with figures for 2019 and 2020.
  • World Survey 2020. Published in the February 2020 issue with figures for 2018 and 2019. A free-to-access summary of the key findings is available online.
  • World Survey 2019. Published in the February 2019 issue with figures for 2017 and 2018. A free-to-access summary of the key findings is available online.
  • World Survey 2018. Published in the February 2018 issue with figures for 2016 and 2017. A free-to-access summary of the key findings is available online.
  • World Survey 2017. Published in the February 2017 issue with figures for 2015 and 2016.

The ICAEW Library & Information Service holds a run of the International Accounting Bulletin from 1983 to March 2021.

To find out more about the availability of older issues please see Library holdings: International Accounting Bulletin.

For information on obtaining copies of individual issues of the International Accounting Bulletin please contact the publishers, Verdict.

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