Key facts and the trends in the accountancy profession

16th edition

This is the sixteenth edition of ‘Key Facts and Trends in the Accountancy Profession’.

This publication provides statistical information and trends on the members and students in the accountancy profession. Information is obtained from the following accountancy bodies: the six UK Chartered Accountancy bodies, the Association of International Accountants (AIA) and the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT). In the sections below, the tables on members show data for the UK and the Republic of Ireland (ROI), and separately, worldwide data. We include the UK and ROI figures together, partly because members and firms are entitled to practise in both jurisdictions and partly because in some cases it is difficult for the bodies to separate the data. However, the Irish Auditing and Accounting Supervisory Authority (IAASA) publishes certain information relating specifically to the ROI, which is available at

Where appropriate we highlight significant trends and explain possible limitations of the data; however, it is important to note that we have not checked the accuracy of the information provided. Where there are notable trends in the data, we follow this up with the bodies to verify that they are content with the information they provided, but we do not include any commentary on the possible reasons for particular trends. We would also stress that it is often difficult to make comparisons between the different accountancy bodies, or between audit firms, given the differences in the way data is classified or because of different regulatory arrangements.

Following feedback received on our 2017 publication, we have included this year new data in relation to diversity. We sought information from the accountancy bodies and relevant firms2 on specific diversity indicators as well as their diversity policies and procedures. By including this information for the first time we hope that it will promote greater transparency and help support greater diversity in the profession in the future. Diversity is a major theme in the FRC’s strategy for 2018-21 and the FRC’s Chief Executive is a member of the BEIS Ministerial Task Force on Diversity.

The key trends in 2016/17 are that the number of members and students has increased worldwide; the number of audit firms registered with the recognised supervisory bodies (RSBs) continue to decline; the total fee income of the audit firms which audit Public Interest Entities (PIEs3) has increased, although there has been a notable decrease in the fee income for non-audit work for audit clients (this may be due to the more stringent independence requirements placed on auditors by the Audit Regulation Directive in June 2016).

We are grateful to those that took the time to complete our questionnaire on how we can continue to improve this publication. We would again welcome comments on Key Facts and Trends in the Accountancy Profession by way of a short questionnaire

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