The ACA still shades the ACCA and CIMA when it comes to pay for accountants in the investment banking sector, a factor any budding accountant may wish to consider before embarking on their training.
A newly-qualified ACA who gained their stripes in a Big Four accounting firm before switching to a finance position in an investment bank can expect £45-52k, according to figures provided exclusively to us by recruiters Marks Sattin. By comparison, those with an ACCA or ACMA earn £40-45k, suggests Marks Sattin. This salary differential exists as accountants move up the ranks, as the tables below demonstrate.
Previous research by recruiters Hays suggested that the ACCA was the highest paying qualification for trainees, but once qualified the ACA leads the way in the financial sector.
The ACA has traditionally been favoured over other accounting qualifications by investment banks in the UK, particularly for more specialist roles like product control, with banks typically poaching from Big Four accounting firms.
It still pays, however, to work in a more specialist accounting position in investment banking. Newly-qualified accountants in product control earn £50-60k, according to Marks Sattin’s research, rising to over £120k at the senior end, while regulatory reporting accountants can expect £50-55k at entry level and up to £100k when they reach VP.
Demand for accountants in investment banking has remained robust even as front office demand has waned. 37% of respondents to Marks Sattin’s survey said headcount has increased over the last 12 months, compared to 23% who said it had reduced. By contrast, just 23% of respondents in the front office said they had seen an increase in employee numbers, while 32% had witnessed a decrease.
This appears to have gone to the head of accountants looking for new position. Many are expecting salary increases of 15-25%, but a more realistic uplift is 10-15%, says Marks Sattin. Investment banks have capped salary increases for accountants at 5-10% upon promotion, but hiring managers have accepted that this needs to be lifted if demand for talented staff continues, says the research.