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Go back to being an accountant

Accountants are suffering, but they’re suffering less. If you’re a former accountant-turned-banker, now may therefore be the time to retrace your steps.

According to the Accountancy Age ranking of the UK’s top 50 accounting firms, all but two had positive revenue growth in 2008.

This is not to say that accountancy firms haven’t been suffering. BDO Stoy Hayward is said to be cutting partners’ pay by 30% in 2009. The Big Four trimmed corporate financiers in 2008 and smaller firms like Grant Thornton and Baker Tilly now have fewer partners than at the end of 2007.

However, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte, and KPMG all ended 2008 with more partners than they had at the end of 2007.

Keith Dugdale, director of global recruitment at KPMG, says 2009 will be all about “strategic hires.”

“There are two areas which are benefiting in particular from the turmoil and they are restructuring and forensic accounting,” he says.

Dugdale says KPMG is open to applications from former accountants. “The people we are particularly interested in are re-hires – people who went into investment banking in very different times and have a professional accounting background.”

Ewan Grant, national head of corporate finance at Baker Tilly, doesn’t sound quite so enthusiastic though. “I wouldn’t have thought investment bankers would be able to find jobs at accountancy firms easily,” he says, before hastily adding, “We will always look at exceptionally talented people from any background.”

Comments (15)

  1. You do realise that being paid a tenth of a normal banker bonus still beats anything accountancy can ever offer?

    KPMG is for failures Reply
  2. Maybe not this year dude, cos 10% of 0 is 0…

  3. Working for KPMG is the worst environment ever. Trust me – being unemployed is preferable!! Don’t go work for an accounting firm.

  4. “kpmg is for failures” – you muppet what bonuses are you talking about? the one’s that wont be there any longer once the gov’y has nationalised the banking sector? IB model is going through a significant change, ,those bonuses your refer to will no longer be around, it will be extremely difficult for IB to payout (those not nationalised) significant bonuses if revenue from intellectual capital transactions have dried up…
    w.r.t. accountancy profession – its these guys that eventually become CEO, CFO and run companies and institutions you and also yo mama work for…
    good luck

  5. Sitting here laughing at hulkhogan knowing what I just got paid, and the future of the industry. Massive consolidation, more banks shutting down their operations means a huge, huge market share for the remaining players. Which will counteract the shrinking overall business. Bonuses will be less than historically, but banking pay will still be MULTIPLE times any other corporate profession. Just the basic salary alone in banking beats accountancy pay all-in.

    KPMG is for failures Reply
  6. oooooh…..a banking vs. accountants fight……how so very cool.

    find a gf you losers Reply
  7. OK REALLY like the last guys name, indeed FIND A GIRLFRIEND people..well done mate

  8. pwc and KPMG are a firm of losers and only a loser would go back there. better to be on benefits. I know. I used to work for these muppets

  9. ex pwc, by loser i assume you are refering to the size of their pay packet? Or something else which is being benchmarked against your 2″ ruler? so partners at these well established firms are losers too right? Their total comp is iwll within the seven figure range…sounds good to me

  10. Recent surveys indicate that the average partner salary at Big 4 is between 670 and 730k. So the “loser” comment is unfounded. Many successful Directors & Partners use their firm as leverage to move into consultancy / NED roles, which provides quality of life and material benefits. Focus on enjoying your career, success (and money) will follow.

  11. My thoughts are thus: being a partner at a big four accountancy firm is probably one of the best jobs in the economy in terms of the risk/return trade off of a profession. From looking at the latest filed accounts of the large accountancy firms its clear that average partners earn around the 1m a year mark. From a back of the envelope calculation it can be said that the approximate chance of becoming partner is 1 in 20 when joining one of the firms as a grad. If you don’t become partner then you have a choice of FC role in industry that can lead to a very cushy and equally well paid FD job (look at the boards of all listed companies – a significant proportion will be ACAs). By contrast banking bonuses are volatile – in the good times you will earn substantially more, and the bad times (now) a lot less. They also exhibit significantly more positive skewness – a few millionaire outliers grab the headlines. There is also a good deal of survivorship bias involved in stories of banking salaries (read Fooled By Randomness), which means that the true mean of bankers’ bonuses is dragged down by those that tried and failed and left banking altogether.

  12. Another couple of points: ACAs can more easily transfer into PE firms, as they have a much more holistic skill set (read the bios of PE firm staff), and while traders can generally transfer to Hedge Funds, their skill set is much more narrow, and they are therefore less adaptable. For example if you were a CDO/CLO specialist in banking – you’re now screwed. As an accountant, you can move industry pretty easily. The ACA is a qualification that acts as a call option.

  13. If you really are earning so much and think PwC/KPMG is crap, why are you on this website to reassure yourself?

    The people earning more than ACAs/ Partners are NOT on this website bragging; they dont do that sort of petty stuff

    Id love to work at PWC, my brother works there and loves it

    besides, the ACA is a great platform for careers in the financial sector, right? (im a student)

    any comment of being on benefits is better than working in the Big 4 is just stupid; and those people who say that are in dire situations, looking to boost their ego

  14. I agree with Peter…its all about money but money smells good when we love the way we got it. :)

  15. yeah… And it’s hard to love the way we got it when we got it doing audit god damn it

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