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Accountants with Best Quality of Life are in Wales says Marks Sattin

Accountants with Best Quality of Life are in Wales says Marks Sattin

Accountants in Wales have the best balance of salary, work hours, commuting times and property prices

Accountants in the South East work the fewest hours

The North East provides the most affordable housing for accountants

London accountants earn 20% more than the national average but have the longest average commute in the country

Accountants in Wales have the best quality of life in the UK, according to research from specialist accountancy and finance recruiter Marks Sattin. They strike the best balance between average pay, hours, commuting time and housing affordability.

The research ranked the UK regions by equally weighting these four variables. Wales topped the rankings, with the South East and North East close behind. Accountants in Wales work the third fewest hours a week in the UK[i](34.7) and have the shortest average commuting time[ii]. While their annual earnings are just seventh highest (&pound33,128)[iii], the average house is only five times the average accountant’s salary. As a result, two thirds of accountants in Wales report they are “very satisfied” with their current position.[iv]

Dave Way, Managing Director of Marks Sattin said,

“While many finance professions are very London centric, three quarters of accountants live outside the capital. Accountancy is such a universal business requirement that accountants can pick where they live to best suit their own lifestyle and ambition. While many younger accountants head to the bright lights of the City, the more experienced accountant can find they don’t have to sacrifice a good salary or chances of progression if they don’t live in London.”

Work-Life Balance

The research found accountants in the South East, excluding London work the fewest hours, only working an extra hour and half per week above the overall regional average. This equates to working an extra two weeks over the course of a year. Despite having the second longest commute, they still spend the most amount of time away from work. Accountants in the South West work the longest hours at 36 hours per week – almost five hours longer per week compared with the UK average.

Accountants in London work an extra four and half weeks a year and have the longest average commuting time in the country – almost six hours per week. However, they are compensated with an average salary of &pound46,193 – almost &pound8,000 above the national average for accountancy.

Dave Waysaid, “With hiring slow currently, accountants have to work longer hours to complete larger volumes of work typically done by larger teams in more buoyant times. It is startling to see how quickly two or three extra working hours add up over the course of a year, to almost equal the standard holiday allowance. Those in the South East appear to have the best work-life balance, which is perhaps a surprise with commuting times still quite high and the sphere of influence of the city still strong. Those in the capital on the other hand are rewarded with the highest pay packets in the country and the best chances of progression for their longer hours and six hour weekly stints stuck on the tube.”

The Cost of Property

Any salary premium for working in London is outweighed by the property premium. The average price of property in the capital is 9 times the average accountant salary, making it the least affordable region in the country. In contrast, the average property in the North East is just four times accountant income. The North East also boasts an average accountancy salary a third higher than the overall regional average, the highest difference compared with local income.

Accountants in the East Midlands also enjoy their salaries going further as the region has an average house price of just &pound179,000 – four and a half times accountant income. It also boasts the highest average accountancy salary outside London, at &pound39,441 – 34% above the UK average.

Dave Waycontinues, “Accountants command large salaries regardless of where they are located as they are highly qualified with a specialist skill set. In areas such as the East Midlands and the North East where the cost of living is much lower, accountants’ salaries are much higher relative to the local average pay and the price of property. Their salary therefore clearly goes much further than some of their regional counterparts. However this research only represents a snapshot of accountants’ careers currently. Tracking careers over decades in this way would paint a fuller picture of career progression and migration and naturally career satisfaction is measured in as many different ways as there are accountants.”

Irish Accountants Work 8 Weeks More than UK Counterparts

The report also found accountants in Ireland work an average 42 hours a week compared to an average among British accountants of 35. This equates to an extra 39 days or almost 8 weeks of work per year. However, Irish accountants are well remunerated for their toil, with an average salary of &euro54,695 (&pound43,403), higher than the UK average and second only to London of the UK regions. Ireland also has highly affordable housing – 4.3 times average accountant income, compared to a UK average of 6.4.

Dan McKeown, Associate Director of Marks Sattin Ireland adds, “In Ireland accountants are much sought after, particularly fund accountants who benefit from Ireland’s status as a tax haven. There is a shortage of talent due to skilled migration to the UK and Australia, meaning while accountants have to work much longer hours, they can command higher salaries than many of their UK counterparts.”


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