ECHM predicts NQ ACAs will earn £52,000 in 2007

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Firms vie for top newly qualified accountancy talent with ‘buy backs’ becoming rife.

Thousands of ACA, ACCA and CIMA accountants will become newly qualified accountants in September and with the current gap between demand and supply across all sectors of the economy, they will be entering an extremely favourable job market as opportunities and salaries for these individuals have never been better. Coupled with this, firms are increasingly ‘buying-back’ employees that intend to leave the organisation to pursue a job opportunity elsewhere, in a move to retain key talent.

The latest figures from financial recruitment specialist, ECHM show those who pass their final exams can expect to earn up to 14% more in a newly qualified accountancy role than their 2005 counterparts. ECHM surveyed over 300 commerce and public practice firms across England on their basic pay rates for newly qualified ACCA and CIMA employees in 2005, 2006 and 2007.

According to those surveyed, newly qualified ACCAs can now earn a basic salary up to £43,000, a 14% rise on 2005 salaries and is expected to rise to £45,000 by 2007, representing a 22% increase between 2005 and 2007.

Newly qualified ACAs within commerce and public practice can now earn up to £48,000 compared to £45,000 in last year. Their basic pay is expected to rise to £52,000 in 2007, an increase of 16% in two years.

This salary growth is a result of an increasingly candidate short market compounded by high levels of demand. Demand is particularly strong within public practice firms including the Big 4 in order to support the expansion and diversification of their service offerings in areas such as management consultancy and risk management. Such salaries however, will only be offered to candidates who can show that they have gained solid experience alongside their qualification.

Salaries for newly qualified CIMA accountants increased 7% to £45,000 in 2006 with companies offering basic salaries of up to £45,000 from £42,000 in 2005. According to ECHM’s research, basic salaries are likely to rise to £47,000 by 2007.

John Hunter, Chief Executive, ECHM comments;

“Accountancy firms are working hard to retain key talent within their businesses and we have started to see a growing trend in ‘buy backs’, particularly at the newly qualified level. This is not a tactic that practice firms have previously utilised and is indicative of the tightness of the talent pool. The Big 4 have offered some individuals payments of between £5,000 to £10,000 to stay, while one Top 50 practice gave a newly qualified accountant a 50% pay rise to ensure he remained with the business.

“Accountants who qualify with first time passes this year and hold strong academics will be the ones earning salaries at the top end of the range and given current hiring levels, they will not be short of career opportunities to choose from. Opportunities registered through ECHM increased by 35% in the second quarter of 2006 compared to the same period in 2005 and there a number of interesting career options coming on to the market for newly qualifieds that simply weren’t their last year.

“With so many opportunities available, newly qualified accountants need to think carefully about what direction they want their career to take before making that post-qualification career move. They need to be realistic about whether they have the necessary experience and skills to succeed in a given role and whether their future employer will provide them with the learning and development opportunities to meet their long-term career objectives.”

Today, ECHM launches the 2006 NQ Career Guide. Sponsored by market leading accountancy employers, the guide has been created to provide information and advice to all newly qualified accountants (ACA, ACCA and CIMA) on careers within commerce and industry, public practice, the public sector and the legal world. Complimentary copies are available to order by email at

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