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Accountancy 2013

  • January 2013
  • -
  • Key Note Publications Ltd


Table of Contents

Executive Summary

For the purposes of this report, Key Note has divided the accountancy market in the UK into four key sectors: audit and accounting; tax and legal services; corporate finance and business recovery; and consultancy services. The first three sectors are generally seen as the ‘core’ areas of the market, although the consultancy services sector is by far the largest in terms of fee income and is perhaps the most lucrative sector of the market.
The consultancy services sector, which includes management consultancy, is one of the fastest-growing sectors of the market, second in terms of growth only to the tax and legal services sector. Between 2008 and 2012, the value of the consultancy services sector grew by 6.2% — this compares with growth of 9.1% for tax and legal services; 5.8% for audit and accounting; and 2.3% for corporate finance and business recovery over the same period. Within the next few years, Key Note believes it to be likely that the consultancy services sector will become the fastest growing of the accountancy market.
The rise of consultancy services within accountancy firms, especially in the largest firms, has been particularly noteworthy over the past 5 years and is likely to be so over the next 5 years as well. This is due to accountancy firms turning towards consultancy services as they struggle to increase revenues in the mature auditing sector. Auditing is, by nature, a strictly controlled activity, as essentially accountants can only perform it in a limited way due to accounting regulations. Consultancy services, in contrast, are not as restricted by such regulations and, as such, accountancy firms have more flexibility with the way that they can develop this sector, which is one of the reasons why fee income is likely to increase over the forecast period.
The market remains dominated by the Big Four accountancy firms, which have seen their market share increase over the review period and now account for over a third of the UK accountancy market. Further to this, they are also responsible for the auditing of all but one of the FTSE 100 companies and a sizeable majority of the FTSE 350 companies.
After the Big Four firms are the 46 mid-tier firms which, with the Big Four firms, make up the UK’s top 50 firms by fee income. These also account for a large proportion of the total UK accountancy market. After this, there are thousands of small firms and individuals offering their services to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Between 2008 and 2017, Key Note estimates that the market for accountancy and related services in the UK will grow by 31.9%. Much of this growth will be seen between 2013 and 2017 as the market recovers from the damage caused by the economic slump, with growth in the market between 2013 and 2017 estimated to be at 19.4%.

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