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- Total bonus pot for UK qualified accountants in the private sector will be 1.3bn
- Accountants set to receive larger bonuses than expected
- Six in every ten businesses to pay bonuses

Accountants will be pleased with the size of their bonus this year as businesses are set to pay more than finance staff expect.

Research from Ambition, the global recruitment company, shows that on average UK accountants expect to receive 8.7% of their base salary as a bonus this year. But a poll of 500 businesses shows that finance professionals are more likely to receive 10.8% of their base salary as a bonus this Christmas.

With the average salary for qualified accountants in the UK currently standing at 42,000 per annum the average bonus for UK accountants will be 4,536 around 880 more than staff were expecting. Based on the number of qualified accountants in the UK private sector the total pot for bonuses is set to be 1.3bn.

The research also shows that six in every ten businesses expect to pay bonuses to finance staff this year. Eight in ten businesses expect to either pay a bonus or increase staff salaries in 2011. Only two in every ten businesses expect not to offer any sort of performance related pay or salary increases over the next twelve months.

Tim Gilbert, managing director of Ambition, said
When times are tough businesses turn to the accountancy department to tighten the company belt and weed out areas of overspending. Accountants are often the unsung heroes of recessions as they keep a keen eye on the bottom line and help steer companies out of trouble. Its encouraging to see finance staff getting the rewards they deserve and businesses recognising the effort and contribution that these departments make.

Its not all good news for accountants, however. When asked about expectations around salary increases next year, finance staff predicted average salary rises of 5% over 2011 nearly two percentage points above inflation (3.2%). This is significantly higher than business expectations. Those companies planning to increase salaries next year will do so by an average of 2.6%.

Gilbert continued There maybe some disappointment from finance teams about the level of salaries next year but its important to remember that many staff will have had their pay frozen over the last two years. Its understandable that staff now want to get their pay back in line but the fact that businesses will be paying higher bonuses than expected will go some way to appeasing any disappointment.


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