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In-demand Welsh accountants at bottom of the UK earnings league.

Byline: Sion Barry Business Editor

THE average remuneration for chartered accountants in Wales is the lowest in the UK, new research shows.

However, according to the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) competition for skilled finance professionals in the current economic slowdown is intensifying.

The average basic pay packet at pounds 76,200 and average bonus of pounds 21,700 for chartered accountants with the ACA (associate chartered accountant) qualification working in business continues to reflect the value and contribution they make in all aspects of business and industry, according to the second Career Benchmarking Survey of ICAEW members.

In Wales the average basic salary is pounds 54,200 with an average bonus of pounds 6,800 - the lowest earnings in the UK.

The survey also puts the typical salaries for chartered accountants working in business at pounds 65,000 with a typical bonus of pounds 4,900.

For those who are chairmen, chief executives and managing directors, the average salary rises to pounds 122,400 with an average bonus of pounds 60,000. At the other endof the spectrum, finance managers earn an average salary of pounds 50,200 and bonus of pounds 5,800.

Those starting out in the profession can expect an average salary of pounds 48,600 during their first four years post qualification compared to an average of pounds 84,300 for those qualified for 20 or more years.

Michael Izza, right, chief executive of the ICAEW, said: "Since our last career benchmarking survey, the economy has been seized bythe credit crunch. Toget through the downturn will require careful management and leadership. As our survey shows, ICAEW members are responding to this need, providing the skills and experience that ensures they continue to play a key role within all aspects of business and industry."

David Lermon, the ICAEW director for Wales, said: "This survey shows how chartered accountants are in demand whether the economy is booming or going through difficult times."

Commenting on the earnings in salaries and bonuses in Wales he added: "The lower basic salary figure does reflect the geographical diversity in Wales where there are bothmajor urban conurbations and large rural areas."

Phil Sheridan, managing director of Robert Half International, which has an office in Cardiff, added: "In today's uncertain market, skilled finance professionals remain in high demand and the competition for them is intensifying, both on a national and international basis. Attracting and retaining that talent is increasingly critical for any business. Engendering loyalty to an organisation has never been as critical as it is in today's marketplace."

This survey highlighted the continuing difference between the earnings of male and female ACAs. The average basic salaryof a male ACA is about 50%higher than that of their female counterparts.

The gap between the two widens through the career stages.

Those females who have worked for 20 or more years earn 25% more than those who qualified in the last four. For males, the difference is 72%.

Two-thirds of ACAs in the survey demonstrated some international experience, whether from working in more than one country or from international projects and assignments.

Career progression has been identified in the survey as one of the key drivers in attracting and retaining chartered accountants.

50% cited career progression as the reason for choosing their current position with nearly one in three (31%) saying it was the most important reason - ahead of other considerations, such as location and remuneration.

Chartered accountants showing the highest loyalty to their employers are those most likely to say that their expectations have been exceeded on career progression, as well as remuneration, workplace culture and market reputation.

While those with low loyalty also see the same factors as important, theyaremost likelyto say that their employer has fallen short in inspirational management and active career development support.

Location and business sectors are also important factors in remuneration.

Salaries and bonuses in London are better than those in other parts of the country with an average salary in excess of pounds 90,000. Outside of London, the earnings of those chartered accountants based in the South East and East of England exceed pounds 70,000.

This is compared to those based in Wales, Yorkshire & Humber and East Midlandswhere the average basic salary is below pounds 60,000.

ACAs working in banking and capital markets earn the highest salaries and bonuses, followed by entertainment and media then insurance.

Those working in government, charity and not-for-profit are more than 25% behind the average at pounds 56,100.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 18, 2008
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