Sources for headline statistics on the accountancy market, including statistics for employment in the sector, total turnover and net exports of accountancy services.
The annual Business Register and Employment Survey (BRES), published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), includes total employee and employment estimates for the accountancy sector. Figures are broken down to show full-time/part-time and public/private splits. More information on the survey and its coverage is available via the publication's methodology.
The latest figures are available via the dataset Industry – Business Register and Employment Survey (BRES): Table 2
See data for UK SIC 2007 code 692: Accounting, bookkeeping & auditing activities: tax consultancy.
Previous versions of the dataset are also available going back to 2008. Please note a population of solely Pay As You Earn (PAYE)-based businesses were included in the BRES survey data from 2015 onwards, see impact of additional PAYE units for more details.
The Annual Business Survey (ABS), formerly known as the Annual Business Inquiry, is published each year by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and provides data on size and growth within the UK's non-financial business sectors including accountancy. More information on the survey and its coverage is available via the publication's methodology.
Data provided includes total turnover. The latest figures can be found in the dataset Non-financial business economy, UK: Sections A to S.
See Section M: Professional, scientific and technical activities under UK SIC 2007 code 6920: Accounting, bookkeeping and auditing activities; tax consultancy.
Previous versions of the dataset are available going back to 2014. Please note the ONS Business Survey Population was expanded in 2015 to include a population of solely Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) based businesses, see impact on the 2015 annual business survey results for more information.
Datasets from 2009 onwards are available through the archived editions of the Annual Business Survey.
Historical figures for 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.
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 3.8: 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.
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.
Total number of firms
The ICAEW Library's page Statistics on the total number of accountancy firms provides sources for the number of firms in the UK
Reports and summaries
The accountancy profession in the UK and Ireland
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.
Report published in March 2009 which highlights the economic contribution of the accountancy profession. 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.
Accounting & Auditing in the UK
Market research report from IBISWorld on the accounting and auditing sector in the UK. A summary is freely available which includes some statistical data.
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.
The EUROSTAT Structural Business Statistics database includes the following data for the accountancy sector, both for the EU as a whole and for member countries:
- Enterprises - number
- Employees - number
See figures for the 'Accounting, bookkeeping and auditing activities; tax consultancy sector' (NACE Code M69.2). These can be found by clicking on the + symbol in the data browser and creating a custom dataset.
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. Recent editions include:
- World Survey 2023. Published in the February 2023 issue. A free-to-access supplement is available providing a summary of the key findings.
- World Survey 2022. Published in the February 2022 issue. A free-to-access supplement is available providing a summary of the key findings.
- World Survey 2021. Published in the February 2021 issue. A free-to-access summary of the key findings is available.
- World Survey 2020. Published in the February 2020 issue. A free-to-access summary of the key findings is available.
- World Survey 2019. Published in the February 2019 issue. A free-to-access summary of the key findings is available.
- World Survey 2018. Published in the February 2018. A free-to-access summary of the key findings is available.
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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