Structure and Organization of the Accountancy Profession in the UK
Data shows 613,100 individuals are employed in accounting roles in the UK. The UK accountancy sector is a combined membership of the major bodies – ACCA, CIMA, CIPFA, ICAEW, and ICAS, which are members of FEE.

Members of the professional bodies are active in the whole spectrum of accountancy services and also work more broadly in business, education and the public sector. It is important to note that in the UK there are no market access requirements for accountancy and tax services. Some of the professional bodies authorize and regulate their members in Statutory Audit and Insolvency, which are reserved regulated activities.




Contribution to the Nation

The UK,  finance profession contributed £59 billion to the development of the country in 2017––of that £21 billion was generated by the activities of the accounting trade. A further £38 billion is evaluated to have been contributed by “in-house” accountants embedded among different other industries throughout the economy.


There were around 613,100 individuals employed in accounting roles in the UK during 2017––of which 432,000 were employed as in-house accountants, while a further 181,000 worked as accounting professionals in specialist accounting practices. Alongside this, the accounting industry employed a further 199,400 staff in non-accountancy roles.

Tax Revenue

The accounting profession also generated an estimated £8.9 billion in tax revenue for the Exchequer––1.5 percent of all HMRC receipts in 2017. This encompasses the income tax and National Insurance contributions paid on the wages of accountants (working in practice and industry), as well as other support workers in the accountancy sector. It also includes the business rates, VAT and corporation taxes paid by accounting services firms.

Accounting services

Accounting services worth some £17.7 billion were owned by industries across the UK in 2017. This demand, equivalent to 1.1 percent of all B2B operational purchases in 2017, was mainly met by the UK’s accounting practices. Data shows an estimated value of £610 million, was made up of imported accounting services.

In the year 2017, the UK exported £3.1 billion-worth of accounting services, which is equivalent to 11 percent of all professional services exports. In 2017, these exports were five times as valuable as accounting imports and helped to illustrate the global appeal of the UK’s accounting standards and services.


Summary of roles within the UK system Government


Accountants play a vital role in the UK system, the government has the power and responsibility to register, monitor and regulate statutory auditors. Delegates from the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) powers to professional accounting bodies.

 Financial Reporting Council

The financial reporting council sets accounting, auditing, auditor independence, and corporate governance standards. Reviews and investigates listed entity accounts for non-compliance with standards and monitors auditors of listed and certain other entities and investigates public interest complaints against members.

Professional Bodies

It registers and regulates auditors, through rules of suitability and conduct and monitors auditors of unlisted entities and thus investigates complaints against members. 

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