Audit into Practice 2016 Salary Guide

Kathryn Swan 25.02.2016

At Morgan McKinley, we endeavor to provide up-to-date market insight and expert knowledge on your sector. Here we offer key recruiter information within the Audit into Practice sector, covering permanent salaries across London and the Home Counties.

View our most up-to-date Practice Salary Guide.


A tough market for employers

We are in a candidate-driven market and the Big 4, top 20 and mid-tier firms are all looking to hire auditors. During 2015 the volume of jobs was up 180% on 2014. The Big 4 have ramped up their recruitment in this area and hired throughout the year. They have started to put forward conditional offers to candidates upon completion of exams, some almost 6 months in advance. 

Audit firms are winning more business than ever for a number of reasons; One significant factor being that the audit threshold has risen in 2016 to £10.2 million. Any company that has a yearly turnover under this, does not by law have to carry out an audit. Smaller practices who historically would have audited these firms are now reviewing their revenue streams, which at times will mean, no longer carrying out audit functions. The end result is fewer practices carrying out audit in an already candidate short market.

Practices are generally selling themselves to candidates more efficiently than was the case in the past. On qualification, a move to a practice is now more likely to lead to better opportunities in the future, compared to going straight into industry. This is subject to the role being marketed correctly by both employer and agency respectively.

As accountancy firms recognise that today’s auditor is a sought after commodity. They are being increasingly open to candidates who require flexible working (shorter hours or working from home). This trend will continue throughout 2016.


Most recruitment is focused at recently qualified and mid-level professionals (£45-50k). These roles can involve long hours during busy season and the prospect of international travel, but those who persevere stand a very good chance of being promoted into more senior positions with interesting areas of responsibility, such as consultancy, tax, fraud, investigation or forensic accounting. 

Now that IFRS 102 has been applied, the demand for auditors will only increase. The bigger practices will probably address the talent shortfall by bringing in more accountants from Commonwealth countries with similar accounting qualifications, such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Indian subcontinent. Candidates with European language skills are, and will continue to be, in high demand.

Permanent - London
Basic Salary (£ Per Annum)
  Big 4 Top 20 Mid Tier
Semi Senior 33,000-35,000 30,000-32,000 25,000-30,000
Senior 43,000-47,000 41,000-45,000 41,000-45,000
Assistant Manager 50,000-55,000 50,000-55,000 50,000-55,000
Manager 60,000-65,000 55,000-60,000 50,000-55,000
Senior Manager 70,000-80,000 60,000-70,000 60,000-65,000
Director 100,000+ 80,000+ 80,000+
Partner 100,000+ 80,000+ 80,000+

Home Counties

A hard sell outside of London

The imbalance between jobs and candidates is even more acute in regionally based practices than it is in central London, especially in the outer suburbs and the Home Counties, for the simple reason that London is more attractive to most candidates. When you move further away from London, the “quality of life” sell is stronger, not least because the difference in the cost of living is more significant.

In the current market climate there are also plenty of opportunities to join interesting commerce and industry companies that are based outside of London. The regional practices are therefore feeling compelled to sell themselves more effectively to attract talent, for example by moving to more attractive offices and introducing candidates to partners at interviews. Hiring processes are executed quickly to avoid losing the best talent.

However, as much as the practices do to improve their employee value proposition, they may have no choice but to be more flexible either on the level of salaries offered, or the quality of the candidates they are prepared to accept (or both) throughout 2016.

Permanent - Home Counties
Basic Salary (£ Per Annum)
  Big 4 Top 20 Mid Tier
Semi Senior 30,000-35,000 25,000-30,000 20,000-25,000
Senior 35,000-40,000 30,000-35,000 25,000-30,000
Assistant Manager 40,000-45,000 35,000-40,000 30,000-35,000
Manage 45,000-50,000 40,000-45,000 35,000-40,000
Senior Manager 50,000-60,000 45,000-55,000 40,000-50,000
Director 70,000+ 60,000+ 60,000+
Partner 80,000+ 70,000+ 70,000+
Kathryn Swan's picture
UK Lead for Accountancy Practices | Tax Audit & Advisory