Key facts and trends in the accountancy profession

This month the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has published the fifteenth edition of its annual report on the accountancy profession. Based on information obtained from various accountancy bodies (including the ACCA, ICAEW and CIMA), it makes for interesting reading.

The main highlights include:

  • Membership of accountancy bodies in the UK and Republic of Ireland (RoI) continues to grow, with the total number of members hitting 350,912, a 10% increase since December 2012;
  • The ICAEW continues to have the largest number of members in the UK and RoI, with a total of 125,087 as at 31 December 2016;
  • The ACCA continues to have the largest number of members worldwide, with a total of 193,976 as at 31 December 2016;
  • The number of audit firms registered with Recognised Supervisory Bodies (RSBs) was 6,010, a fall of 17% since December 2012;
  • Of the firms registered for audit, 49% had only one principal, while 95% had six principals or less;
  • For the year ending 2016, PricewaterhouseCoopers enjoyed the single largest concentration of FTSE100  audit clients (numbering 33), followed by KPMG, Deloitte, EY and BDO;
  • Audit fee income for the Big Four increased by 2.7% in 2015/16 and for those outside the Big Four, by 5.4% in 2015/16;
  • There was a fall in the number of new complaints received by RSBs, from 120 in 2015 to 107 in 2016.

The report should be received positively by the accountancy profession. However, from a professional negligence claim perspective, a growing profession could lead to an increase in the overall number of claims made against it. Equally, the potential for members to explore new and less familiar area of practice, where risk management protocols are less established, in response to the pressure of increased competition, could also be a factor.

You can view the full FRC report here.

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