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Salary relative to accountants

#1 Salary relative to accountants
09/11/2006 12:22


I'm interested to know the differences in slasries between accountants and consultants at various stages of their careers. I know accountants have the qualifying thing going for them, but assuming two 21 year olds entered accounting and consulting professions, how would their salaries progress through to partner etc..

Does anyone have a view?

Thanks in advance,

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#2 RE: Salary relative to accountants
09/11/2006 21:20

anon to Cons (#1)

Several views - but it’s very speculative to forecast salaries through to partner level 10-30+ years hence*

However a way to research benchmarks is to look at salaries from reliable sources/professional bodies (using recent market surveys). So consider a comparable level (e.g. director) and look at a professional consulting salary survey (i.e. TC, MCA) vs. look at market rates for levels of progression for accountancy. Decide which accountancy qualification you are using for the research exercise and source figures using a professional chartered accountancy website for auditing job salaries.

If you use a comparable static time frame the table could be quite simple. Take care which job titles you look at though to approximate a comparison:

FY 2005-6



Cons trainee 1+year

Level 1

Junior accountant

Consulting analyst – Jnr. Consultant

Level 2


Audit Accountant

Level 3

Consulting Director

Accounting Director

Level 4

If you used these as comparables then Level 1 or 4 might offer a direct comparable, but you’d find various titles at Level 1.5 through to 3.5 that are variable by profession and also by firm. So anchor comparables survey’s, by perhaps using years of experience rather than age or salary. Also if you ask firms directly then most are likely to inform you that people’s salaries are confidential (hopefully) and often that the structure is flat. This makes reputable professional bodies very helpful for your objective.

* Also if you research salary/slasrie(!?) levels be aware that you are only focussing on this variable. Without looking at other forms of remuneration (such as equity) you are building in assumed constraints in the model through your original question.

** Also there is an implicit assumption, perhaps, that accountants are the only people with a professional qualification. Not so, many consultants have a variety of qualifications going for them as well (including in accountancy).

A longish answer to a complicated question but that’s a way to start taking a view on this issue.

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#3 RE: Salary relative to accountants
09/11/2006 21:27

anon to anon (#2)

P.S. CONSULTING and ACCOUNTING would be the spreadsheet table columns above, with the levels down the other vertical in this type of analysis.

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#4 RE: Salary relative to accountants
10/11/2006 09:12

Cons to anon (#3)

What a beautifully crafted response. And thanks for the tip re: excel; working as a strat consultant now I would never have got that one.

Can anyone,off the top of their head throw some reasonably reliable figures at me in about three sentences as opposed to me wading through data?

I appreciate Hays has an accounting salary benchmark but was particularly interested on Big 4 salaries. (and I know the average partner remuneration numbers are published!)

Thanks in advance

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#5 RE: Salary relative to accountants
10/11/2006 09:56

at-at-at-at to Cons (#4)

"Can anyone,off the top of their head throw some reasonably reliable figures at me in about three sentences as opposed to me wading through data?"

In other words - "I can't be bothered to do any real research, please could somebody do this for me and summarise the results. Now." Hey, you'd make a great partner. :-)

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#6 RE: Salary relative to accountants
10/11/2006 11:41

Cons to at-at-at-at (#5)

Didn't think something like:

Friend, senior manager, corp finance, KPMG £80k + 15%

would be such a hassle!

Good to see you've time on your hands at-at-at to write such constructive reponses.

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#7 RE: Salary relative to accountants
10/11/2006 12:08

Anon to Cons (#6)

If you're after information snippets like that you should just read the salary survey thread on the next page. Or is it too far beyond your capabilities to use the search facility at the top of the page?

I have no idea why you want to know about either consulting or accounting jobs given that you clearly wouldn't last five seconds in either. I can imagine it now:

Audit lead: "Cons, can you check the sales figures so we can start auditing them please?"

Cons: "I can't see the figures on the cover of the annual report. I give up."

Audit lead: "Use your initiative. Have you looked on page 34?"

Cons: "I can't be bothere wading through all those words and numbers. What's the answer? And why aren't you paying me as much as McKinsey?"

Audit lead: "Because you're incompetent. You're fired"

Consulting project manager: "Cons, can you do some research on this company's international markets before the meeting?"

Cons: "I'm not wading through all those words and numbers. Do it yourself."

Consulting project manager: "F#ck off, you're fired."

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#8 RE: Salary relative to accountants
10/11/2006 13:16

Cons to Anon (#7)


You're clearly in the wrong profession (I'm assuming you're something to do with consulting if you're on here) and it appears you have wasted your talents not pursuing a profession as a comedy script writer.

The thread titled 'salary once and for all' has 51 hits. Using the analytical skills I use as a strategy consultant or those I employ as a nearly qualified accountant (ACA) I've quickly skimmed the number of responses column on the left and at first glance, I can't find any thread that comes close to having 50 responses! (I am thinking of jumping ship to corporate finance or transaction services at a Big 4 or middle tier bank, hence my original question)

I'm making an assumption (and I may be wrong) here that not only by definition but also by this interest from the forum's audience that salary would be of interest and thus quick fire responses of this nature would be thick and fast in arriving!

Unfortunately, personality lacking tw@ts like your good self are enjoying their Friday by publicising their work in the context of consulting and audit professions.

Congratulations. I'm sure you're a right laugh to meet in person and I'm envious of your work colleagues for having the opportunity to work with you. Enjoy your weekend

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#9 RE: Salary relative to accountants
10/11/2006 15:02

Colonic Animation to Cons (#8)

What's your point? You found a recent thread that you think answers your question with over 50 responses.

a) Why not use the information there rather than asking people to repeat themselves?

b) If the information there is inadequate for your needs, but you want more in a similar vein, why not prompt for more responses by keeping that thread alive. If you want information in that format then don't start a new thread simply to cosset your ego.

By the way, good luck with your strategy consulting/ACA job. That must be some high class "consultancy" you work for. Possibly even a big name like BDO Stoy Hayward. You must be really senior now, now that you're "nearly qualified" - a whole 12 months under your belt? Or 18 maybe?

Or, when you said that you were a "nearly qualified accountant", did you actually mean that you flunked the exams?

It's funny because I'd rather assumed by your original question (about salaries for 21 year olds entering the accounting and consulting professions for the first time) that you didn't have any experience at all. Not that you'd ever make up a job to soothe your bruised ego, or make schoolboy errors like confusing auditing and strategy consulting.

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#10 RE: Salary relative to accountants
10/11/2006 16:29

Cons to Colonic Animation (#9)

You haven't really got the point mate have you!?

The 21 year old question referred to the start of one's career; I want to know how quickly the salary jumps at different divisions of Big 4 firms in their advisory practises only so as to gauge what I should be looking at when I look to jump ship as a senior consultant (higher up the food chain that a newly qualified accountant with numbers skewed by audit data. Such information is not available on the internet due to the averages being skewed by audit divisions (which pay considerably less).

As to your other comments, you get more childish and narrow minded by the hour! Keep the thread alive!? What's wrong with a new one that contains slightly different information than what a purely consulting audience will be after!? (Don't waste anymore of your life answering that actually)

I'm even questioning why you deserve this reply as I'm amazed by your funny little assumptions that you come out with! Absolutely outstanding.

Perhaps a break, long holiday might do you good? Otherwise, I suggest reading threads and answering to them in a constructive manner or not at all. Try and infer rather than purely assuming in your narrow minded little comments.

Case closed mate, you win, well done. I'll go somewhere else to try and get this insight.

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#11 RE: Salary relative to accountants
10/11/2006 16:49

Barney Rubble to Cons (#10)

Cons - ignore everyone above!

I have seen your genius, you're right, you are better than everyone. It's their fault that nobody really gets your thread, they never really do. People always fail to get you, I know, but that's their fault man, they're just not sharp enough. You're a step ahead, a leader of the pack!


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#12 RE: Salary relative to accountants
11/11/2006 20:08

anon to Barney Rubble (#11)

The question and thread on this are largely contrary.

If you had read my previous posts carefully (2&3) you should be able to form a view on these comparatives by using recent survey data. If you do not have this data then I suggest you do 'wade through data' to find it.

Both sets of data are available on-line (in fact I checked and found both sets of data within 5 minutes of looking). I also dont understand why using a spreadsheet to obtain the differentials is such a hassle.

Use two surveys with robust methods and they are going to reflect the relative weights of big firms because, put simply, big firms are big employers, especially on the audit side, as you are most probably aware.

Also if you take out non-big firms on the consulting column your figures will be so skewed as to be meaningless given your original question.

Put simply source some accurate survey data, put it on a spreadsheet and stop annoying people.

The forum relies on a certain level of courtesy when it is used to its full. I dont personally think you understand that and am not therefore going to point you to the data you want.

Some kind person might offer you more sympathy in finding your data. However out of respect to the various publishers of these reports (and their rights to distribute them as they see fit - which they do very well) - that person is not going to be me.

I'm out of this thread.

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#13 RE: Salary relative to accountants
11/11/2006 21:07

curious to anon (#12)

Cons, I think everyone who has read this thread probably have 3 things on our mind while reading... 1.) you're lazy. 2.) the responses to your post have been either informative or at least humorous (I loved the Audit Lead and PM conversations! funny stuff!) , and 3.) IF you ARE really either a consultant or accountant (which I seriously doubt unless you're one of those that only do enough to not get fired), can you please let us know? We would really appreciate it, as we will all do our best to avoid working with you or hiring you for any projects. Avoid disaster when possible.

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#14 RE: Salary relative to accountants
13/11/2006 10:03

John P to curious (#13)

Curious, I think you are wrong there because I did not think any of the above.

I was actually thinking this would be an interesting comparison.

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#15 RE: Salary relative to accountants
13/11/2006 17:27

dl to John P (#14)

Same here. Though I enjoyed reading people slagging each other off too.

However, the really big question is: what are your chances of making it to partner? And in what type of firm? This swamps all other financial considerations.

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#16 RE: Salary relative to accountants
13/11/2006 17:51

Cons to dl (#15)

Yeah well I though it would be quite interesting too and rather than infer differentials through spreadsheets a couple of quickfire 'less than 10 word' answers to the post would be useful.

Nevermind, with 16 hits now it might look interesting. Unfortunately all for the wrong reasons!


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#17 RE: Salary relative to accountants
13/11/2006 20:15

Always Wright to Cons (#1)

This is the definitive answer: accountants earn more. In the first two years, consultants earn more but after that it evens out for the next three years then accountants start pulling ahead and keep increasing the lead through to partner.

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#18 RE: Salary relative to accountants
13/11/2006 22:16

Sure? to Always Wright (#17)

Not sure that is correct. Depends what you are comparing. Within the Big 4 - well, Deloitte - no difference really except that you start on quite a bit more on Consulting and it pays a better bonus. Strategy consultancies pay more than Deloitte I believe and lesser accounting firms pay less.

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