How Much Do Chartered Accountants Earn?

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 30 August 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

If you're confident working with numbers, a career as a chartered accountant can be rewarding for you. It's one of the most coveted careers in finance, with lots of opportunities for growth and earning potential. Knowing how much chartered accountants earn can help you decide if this is the right career for you. In this article, we discuss the roles of chartered accountants, their average salary and how you can increase your earnings.

How much do chartered accountants earn?

The average chartered accountant's salary is £34,876 per year. The salary for accountants may vary depending on experience, qualifications, location and size of an organisation. Some areas offer higher pay than others due to the cost of living and the demand for professionals. Here are the salaries of accountants by country:

  • England: £35,122 per year

  • Scotland: £33,509 per year

  • Wales: £31,970 per year

  • Northern Ireland: £34,005 per year

How to increase your earnings as a chartered accountant

Here are some of the tips on how to increase your chartered accountant salary:

1. Gain experience

The most successful chartered accountants tend to have several years of experience in the accounting field. Experience equips you with knowledge and skills that you cannot get in school or through training. The starting salary may be low, but as you gain experience, your average salary can increase significantly.

Related: Work Experience: Definition, Importance and Tips

2. Relocate

Your salary may vary according to where you live. If you're in a location that offers lower pay, consider relocating to a higher-paying city. Be sure to make your decisions while considering factors such as the cost of living and transport.

3. Negotiate for a better salary

Having stayed in one company or organisation for a while, you can consider negotiating for a better salary with your employer instead of shifting jobs. You can present to your supervisor or manager your added qualifications and experience and use them as a basis to ask for a salary raise. Note that your performance plays a major role in getting a better salary. Your employer is likely to give you a raise if they think your performance and skills are invaluable to the company.

Related: Negotiation Skills: Examples and Tips

4. Supplement your income

As a chartered accountant, you have in-depth knowledge of finance and accounting concepts. You can use this to get an additional job to supplement your income. For example, you can teach accounting in a college for pay or tutor students in your area for a fee.

5. Consider your specialisation

There are various specialities within accounting such as audit, forensic accounting, tax and corporate financing. Some of these specialities tend to have a higher earning potential than others. If you want to increase your earnings, consider specialising in an area that offers higher pay. You may pursue courses and extra training to get the qualifications necessary.

6. Offer independent accounting services

As opposed to getting employed in a firm, where you'll get paid a fixed salary per month, you can consider working as an independent accountant. As a contractual accountant, you only work on a part-time basis, offering specialised services. You can raise your earnings by setting higher prices for certain services and also by acquiring more clients. You may need to market your services either online or by asking friends, family and former clients to recommend you. The best way to attract clients is by offering high-quality accounting services.

7. Gain additional certifications

Most employers look for professionals with accounting certifications since it's an assurance that you'll have the knowledge necessary for the job. Be sure to pursue an additional degree, enrol in a master's program or consider undertaking another professional exam to get more certificates. The added certificates can set you apart from other candidates and give you a solid basis to negotiate for a better salary.

Related: How to Negotiate a Better Salary

What is a chartered accountant?

Chartered accountants are certified professionals who have completed the highest level of qualification in accounting. These professionals demonstrate mastery of finance and accounting, and they have several experiences working for individuals and businesses. As a chartered accountant, you may track your client's expenses and incomes, audit accounts, prepare financial reports and give financial advice. In most companies or organisations, these professionals hold leadership positions in finance departments.

Related: How to Become a Chartered Accountant

What do chartered accountants do?

Chartered accountants can work in non-profit organisations, private and public companies or as independent contractors. Their main role is to maximise their client's profitability, audit accounts and provide accurate financial records and advice. Some of the day to day duties of these accountants include:

  • Planning budgets and managing financial systems

  • Conducting financial audits

  • Advising clients on business transactions such as mergers and acquisition

  • Auditing company systems and analysing risk

  • Advising clients on the best investments to undertake

  • Tax planning

  • Preparing and maintaining proper accounting records

  • Detecting and preventing criminal activities

  • Guiding and supervising junior accountants

  • Liaising with other professionals such as external auditors whenever any financial irregularities occur

  • Preparing financial statements and reports, including financial forecasting and planning

  • Offering in-depth advice on accounting topics and may even testify in a court of law as accounting experts

Requirements for chartered accountants

Here are some of the main requirements to become a chartered accountant:

Education

While a degree in accounting may be important, it's not essential to become work in this area. You can consider studying accounting, finance or economics and also enrol in various professional accounting courses. Education and training can set you apart from other candidates when applying for a job or negotiating salaries.

If you choose to pursue an accounting degree in a university, you can consider doing it alongside a chartered accountancy course. That way, you can complete both your accounting degree and the chartered course at the same time. Alternatively, you can choose to complete your undergraduate degree first, and then begin training as a chartered accountant.

Training

Due to the extensive working experience and training required to become a chartered accountant, it's best that you get an internship at the end of your college studies. You can get a part-time position or a full-time job, as long as you get exposed to an accountant's day-to-day duties and working environment. As an intern, you can work under the supervision of an experienced professional, giving you a chance to learn and ask questions. You can also apply for entry-level positions to help you gain valuable experience and real-world accountancy knowledge.

Skills

Along with the technical accounting skills, it's crucial that you develop the following skills to help you grow in your accounting career:

  • Computer skills

  • Interpersonal skills

  • Communication skills

  • Organisational skills

  • Time management skills

  • Strong writing skills

  • Numeracy skills

  • Leadership and management skills

  • Self-motivation

  • Integrity

  • Business and finance knowledge

  • Attention to detail

Certifications

You'll need to complete certain certifications offered by professional accounting institutions to be recognised as a chartered accountant. There are various professional bodies, all offering exam modules, professional development, ethical training and practical work experience. Note that while you undergo the training, you may still have to get an internship from an authorised accounting firm or employer.

Specialise

Upon completion of your training, you can decide on which accounting area to focus on. At the start of your career, you may perform general tasks, but you can specialise in an area you're interested in with time. You can either be a management accountant or a finance accountant, with further specialisations within each field. Through specialisation, you could become an expert in your field, increasing your earning potential and demand in the accounting market. Some of the specific fields you can specialise in include:

  • Audit and insurance

  • Tax

  • Corporate finance

  • Forensic accounting

  • Business insolvency and recovery

Common chartered accountant jobs

As a chartered accountant, you can work in various accounting fields. Some of the common jobs include:

1. Tax accountant

National Average Salary: £42,372 per year

Job Duties: Tax accountants focus on planning and advising their client's on tax issues. It's their role to ensure that clients abide by the tax laws to prevent them from getting any penalties or legal charges. In addition, they keep track of their client's financial records and filings, ensuring that they only pay what the law requires and nothing more.

2. Internal auditor

National Average Salary: £48,756 per year

Job Duties: Internal auditors are essential to any organisation. They provide financial advice and monitor potential issues and internal systems, including employee behaviour. They record their observations and present detailed reports to their supervisors or the management.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries‌ ‌may‌ ‌‌vary‌‌ ‌depending‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌hiring‌ ‌organisation‌ ‌and‌ ‌a‌ ‌candidate's‌ ‌experience,‌ ‌academic‌ background‌ ‌and‌ ‌location.‌

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