Total membership of the UK accountancy profession continues to grow steadily. The 2015 FRC (Financial Reporting Council) report: “Key Facts and Trends in the Accountancy Profession” lists seven bodies which includes over 335,000 members in the UK and ROI, and over 485,000 members worldwide.  

Key Facts:

  • Total membership of the body continues to grow
  • Worldwide, the number of students qualifying with UK bodies increased by 3% in 2014
  • The number of registered audit firms continues to decline gradually, reducing by 4.9% between 31 December 2013 and 2014
  • Audit fee income for the Big Four firms increased by 0.1% in 2013-14, compared with an increase of 9.5% for the larger registered firms outside the Big Four  

The report can be viewed here.  

The “Big Four”  

With the demise of Arthur Anderson in 2002, the “Big Five” became the “Big Four.” These are: Deloitte, PwC, EY and KPMG and they are the four largest international professional services companies. The ONS publication, Labour Market Statistics, states that there are approximately 193,000 chartered and certified accountants employed in the UK, as well as 26,000 taxation experts.  

ICAEW estimates that the accountancy market in the UK grew by 2.4% in 2014, to reach the value of £36.8 billion, this is forecast to grow to £46.3 billion in 2019.  

Audit is the largest segment of the accountancy market in the UK, accounting for 38.7% of the market’s total value.  

The UK accounts for approximately 21% of the European accountancy market value.