Accountants and Auditors

Which are the best paying jobs?

Trying to decide on a career path can be a daunting experience, especially when jobs appear fairly similar from the outside and the financial consequences of picking an employer are unclear.

We have analysed 1,401 London salary entries from professionals working as auditors and accountants both as external consultants and internal employees. We found that internal auditors earn more than consulting auditors. Also, when starting out as a consulting auditor, the big 4 are not necessarily the best payers - but it's not all about the money: blue chip names, mentoring and training processes as well as the professional network they provide should not be overlooked.

Title & Years of Experience Specialisation Salary Bonus Total Comp.
Entry Level (1-2) Internal Audit 36,000 0 36,000
Consultant (1-2) External Audit 32,000 0 32,000
Junior Manager (3-5) Internal Audit 54,000 4,000 58,000
Senior Consultant (3-5) External Audit 46,000 0 46,000
Manager (6-8) Internal Audit 72,000 8,000 80,000
Manager (6-8) External Audit 55,000 2,000 57,000

Internal vs External Audit

Go for internal audit: Internal auditors are better off when it comes to pay than consulting auditors, especially in the financial sector. As senior consultants, external auditors make 21% less, while the gap in total compensation increases to 28% for managerial positions.

The case of the missing bonus: Consulting auditors do not earn bonuses (or very few do) in the early years until they get promoted to manager, in line with most consultancy practices. Even then the bonus is only 4% of their total earnings. Internal auditors however, earn bonuses making up to 7 to 9% of total annual earnings (for junior managers and managers respectively).


Title & Years of Experience Specialisation Salary Bonus Total Comp.
Entry Level (1-2) Financial Accounting 26,000 0 26,000
Consultant (1-2) Financial Accounting (Consulting) 28,000 0 28,000
Junior Manager (3-5) Financial Accounting 43,000 0 43,000
Senior Consultant (3-5) Financial Accounting (Consulting) 41,000 2,000 43,000
Manager (6-8) Financial Accounting 46,000 2,000 48,000
Manager (6-8) Financial Accounting (Consulting) 57,000 4,000 61,000

The ins & outs of accountancy: In financial accounting, being employed by a company or being employed externally by a consultancy is financially irrelevant for the first five years. As accounting professionals rise through the ranks to manager level though, working as a consultant is 30% more lucrative.

External audit by company

Title & Years of Experience Specialisation Salary Bonus Total Comp.
Consultant (1-2) Big 4 32,000 0 32,000
Consultant (1-2) Other 32,000 0 32,000
Senior Consultant (3-5) Big 4 45,000 1,000 46,000
Senior Consultant (3-5) Other 46,000 0 46,000

The Big 4: From the junior levels to senior consultants, there is no noticeable pay difference between working for the Big 4 firm or a smaller accountancy practice.

Not only do companies have to pay competitively to attract and retain the best staff, but they also need to adapt their recruitment and retention strategies and find out what accountants want to do right now, in five years, and ten years' time. And then help with building a career progression tailored to that individual; not just a one-size fits all programme for staff.


Emolument provides bonus and salary statistics based on data submitted directly by professionals like you. It is free, anonymous, and already a trusted tool for thousands of professionals worldwide. Are you paid enough? Click here to find out now.

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