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Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Accounting and Financial Management - UK market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Covered in this report

The UK market for accounting and financial management has demonstrated consistent nominal growth between 2015 and 2019, with annual growth levels fluctuating between 4% and 6%. Consultancy has represented a key driver for market growth as many companies have branched out into advisory services to grow their business and become less reliant on traditional accounting functions.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Claudia Preedy, a leading analyst in the B2B sector, her extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

The UK accounting and financial management market is expected to demonstrate consistent growth over the next five years, with annual growth levels expected to fluctuate between 3% and 4% in real terms. While the uncertain economic environment is set to continue to present challenges, it will also provide opportunities for accountants as more clients turn to them for guidance and advice in uncertain times. Claudia Preedy
B2B Analyst

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What's included

What's included

Table of contents

Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Covered in this Report
      • Executive Summary

          • The market
            • UK accounting and financial management market increased by an estimated 6% to £28bn in 2019
              • Figure 1: UK market for accounting & financial management, 2015-19
            • Consultancy services represent key driver for market growth
              • Fee income in audit and accountancy services sector up by an estimated 5% in 2019
                • Audit market is facing further reforms following the completion of recent reviews
                  • Demand for tax advice and compliance services grows
                    • Corporate finance and business recovery services sector continues to account for around 11% of total market
                      • Figure 2: Segmentation of the UK market for accounting & financial management, by type of service, 2015 and 2019
                    • UK market for accounting and financial management is expected to demonstrate moderate annual growth over next five years
                      • Figure 3: Forecast UK market segmentation for accounting & financial management, by type of service, 2020-24
                    • Companies and brands
                      • ‘Big four’ account for 83% of top 20 firms’ UK fee income
                        • Figure 4: Top 10 accounting firms in the UK, by fee income, 2019 (% of top 10 fee income)
                      • Acquisitions, partnerships and alliances continue to revolve around the technology space
                        • What we think
                        • Issues and Insights

                          • Investment in technology to remain key focus in audit sector, as auditors seek to improve quality, raise efficiency and productivity
                            • The facts
                              • The implications
                                • Widespread adoption of cloud accounting software enables accountants to form closer relationships with clients
                                  • The facts
                                    • The implications
                                      • Advisory services to remain key drivers for market growth as accountancy firms continue to expand their consultancy arms
                                        • The facts
                                          • The implications
                                          • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                            • UK accounting and financial management market up by an estimated 6% in 2019
                                              • Consultancy sservices represent key driver for market growth
                                                • Audit market is facing further reforms following the completion of recent reviews
                                                  • Demand for tax advice and compliance services grows
                                                  • Market Size

                                                    • Business models evolve as accountants expand, diversify or specialise
                                                      • UK accounting and financial management market increased by an estimated 6% to £28bn in 2019
                                                          • Figure 5: The UK market for accounting & financial management, 2015-19
                                                          • Figure 6: The UK market for accounting & financial management, 2015-19
                                                      • Market Segmentation

                                                          • Consultancy services command a rising share of UK accounting and financial management market
                                                            • Figure 7: Segmentation of the UK market for accounting & financial management, by type of service, 2015-19
                                                            • Figure 8: Segmentation of the UK market for accounting & financial management, by type of service, 2015 and 2019
                                                          • Audit & accounting
                                                            • Audit market reforms fail to deliver increased competition, as ‘big four’ continue to dominate FTSE 350 market
                                                              • Recent developments in FTSE 350 audit contracts
                                                                • Audit market is facing further reforms following the completion of recent reviews
                                                                  • Opportunities open up for mid-tier firms to compete for non-audit work for FTSE companies
                                                                    • Audit fees at top end of market expected to further increase
                                                                      • Investment in technology to deliver continually higher audit quality and deeper insight
                                                                        • ‘Big four report increase in audit-fee income in 2018, while others report a decline
                                                                          • Audit and accounting services sector sees moderate annual increase in UK fee income
                                                                            • Figure 9: UK fee income from audit & accounting services, 2015-19
                                                                          • Tax services
                                                                            • Government clampdown on tax avoidance schemes
                                                                              • Regulatory changes and tighter tax rules stimulate demand for tax advice and compliance services
                                                                                • Implications of Making Tax Digital for accountants
                                                                                  • UK fee income from tax services rose by an estimated 6% in 2019
                                                                                    • Figure 10: UK fee income from tax services, 2015-19
                                                                                  • Consultancy
                                                                                    • Increased demand for advisory services due to uncertainty
                                                                                      • Accountancy firms expand consultancy and advisory functions through strategic acquisitions
                                                                                        • Technology, analytics and digital play important role in consultancy services
                                                                                          • Increased competition from legal services firms branching out into consultancy services
                                                                                            • ‘Big four’ to rein in consulting services to audit clients
                                                                                              • UK fee income from consultancy services grows by 29% between 2015 and 2019
                                                                                                • Figure 11: UK fee income from consultancy services, 2015-19
                                                                                                • Figure 12: UK fee income from consultancy services, 2015-19
                                                                                              • Corporate finance and business recovery
                                                                                                • Demand for business recovery and insolvency services on the up as more businesses in distress
                                                                                                  • Brexit likely to affect UK’s leading position in cross-border restructuring
                                                                                                    • Corporate finance sector remains sensitive to current political and economic uncertainties
                                                                                                      • Corporate finance & business recovery services sector continues to account for around 11% of total market
                                                                                                        • Figure 13: UK fee income from corporate finance & business recovery services, 2015-19
                                                                                                      • Overseas trade in accountancy services
                                                                                                          • Figure 14: International trade in accountancy services, 2014-18
                                                                                                          • Figure 15: Exports and imports of accountancy services, 2014-18
                                                                                                      • Market Forecast

                                                                                                        • Ongoing uncertainty over Britain’s future trading relationship with the EU will continue to impact UK businesses over the immediate future
                                                                                                          • UK market for accounting and financial management is expected to demonstrate real-terms growth in each year between 2020 and 2024
                                                                                                            • Figure 16: Forecast UK market for accounting & financial management, 2020-24
                                                                                                            • Figure 17: Forecast UK market segmentation for accounting & financial management, by type of service, 2020-24
                                                                                                          • Audit and accounting
                                                                                                            • Investment in technology to remain key focus in audit sector
                                                                                                              • Investment programmes to improve audit quality
                                                                                                                • Tax services
                                                                                                                  • Consultancy
                                                                                                                    • Corporate finance and business recovery
                                                                                                                      • Market growth expected to be driven by consultancy and advisory services
                                                                                                                        • Figure 18: Forecast UK market segmentation for accounting & financial management, by type of service, 2020-24
                                                                                                                    • The Impact of the Economy

                                                                                                                      • Annual GDP growth falls to six-year low in 2018 and continues to slow in 2019
                                                                                                                        • Figure 19: GDP growth rate, Q3 2015 - Q3 2019, (% change on previous quarter)
                                                                                                                    • Market Trends

                                                                                                                      • Adoption of new technologies drives increased efficiency and improved quality of audits
                                                                                                                        • Expansion of advisory services remains key market trend
                                                                                                                          • Digital technology represents a key driver for the consultancy services sector
                                                                                                                            • ‘Big four’ are now largest cybersecurity consulting firms globally and the UK’s biggest recruiter for cybersecurity experts
                                                                                                                              • Large accounting firms expand legal services offering
                                                                                                                                • ‘Big four’ legal teams at forefront in investing in LawTech
                                                                                                                                  • Widespread adoption of cloud accounting software enables accountants to form closer relationships with clients
                                                                                                                                    • ‘Big data’ and data analytics represent key growth areas for accountants
                                                                                                                                    • Regulatory and Legislative Environment

                                                                                                                                      • Industry regulation
                                                                                                                                        • Audit market reforms to open up market to increased competition
                                                                                                                                          • Audit sector set for further reforms following the conclusion of a number of reviews looking at different aspects of the sector
                                                                                                                                            • CMA Market Study identifies serious competition concern in audit market
                                                                                                                                              • Sir John Kingman’s review recommends abolishment of FRC, to be replaced by new regulatory body ARGA
                                                                                                                                                • Sir Donald Brydon’s review calls for the establishment of a new corporate auditing profession
                                                                                                                                                  • BEIS Select Committee inquiry into ‘The future of audit’
                                                                                                                                                    • More companies are exempt from audit as thresholds are raised
                                                                                                                                                      • New UK accounting standards
                                                                                                                                                        • Crackdown on tax avoidance
                                                                                                                                                          • Making tax digital
                                                                                                                                                          • Market Drivers

                                                                                                                                                            • Number of active businesses in the UK
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 20: Number of private sector businesses in the UK, 2005-19
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 21: Number of private sector businesses in the UK, 2005-19
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 22: Number of VAT and/or PAYE-registered enterprises in the UK, by industry group and turnover size band, 2019, (Number and £000)
                                                                                                                                                              • Continued rise in self-employment
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 23: Self-employed workers in the UK, 2008-19 (000s and %)
                                                                                                                                                                • Corporate insolvency rates edge upwards
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 24: Number of company insolvencies, receiverships and administrations in England & Wales, 2009-19
                                                                                                                                                                  • Corporate credit conditions
                                                                                                                                                                    • UK M&A market more subdued in 2019, following buoyant activity in recent years
                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 25: Mergers and acquisitions involving UK companies, 2006-19
                                                                                                                                                                      • Number of listed companies on a downward trend
                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 26: Number of main market and AIM-listed companies, 2009-19
                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 27: Number of main market and AIM-listed companies, 2011-19
                                                                                                                                                                    • Companies and Brands – What You Need to Know

                                                                                                                                                                      • Number of audit firms gradually declining
                                                                                                                                                                        • BDO and Moore Stephens merge to create the largest UK accountant and business adviser focused on mid-sized businesses 
                                                                                                                                                                          • KPMG undergoes restructuring in a bid to overhaul its audit practice and to draw clear line between audit and advisory businesses
                                                                                                                                                                          • Industry Structure

                                                                                                                                                                            • Overview
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 28: Top 20 accounting firms in the UK, by fee income, 2019
                                                                                                                                                                            • Number of audit firms gradually declining
                                                                                                                                                                              • Industry Structure
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 29: Analysis of the changes in the structure of the UK accounting, bookkeeping, auditing and tax consultancy industry, 2015-19
                                                                                                                                                                              • Structure by employment
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 30: Analysis of the employment structure of the accounting, bookkeeping, auditing and tax consultancy industry, 2018 and 2019
                                                                                                                                                                              • Structure by turnover
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 31: Analysis of the financial structure of the UK accounting, bookkeeping, auditing and tax consultancy industry, 2018 and 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 32: Analysis of the financial structure of the UK accounting, bookkeeping, auditing and tax consultancy industry, 2019
                                                                                                                                                                              • Acquisitions, partnerships and alliances continue to revolve around the technology space
                                                                                                                                                                              • Competitive Strategies

                                                                                                                                                                                • BDO and Moore Stephens merge to create the largest UK accountant and business adviser focused on mid-sized businesses 
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Grant Thornton to no longer bid for FTSE 350 audit work as market is “extremely difficult to penetrate”
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Grant Thornton sells wealth advisory arm to focus on core markets
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Targeted approach to technology sees BDO focus on automation, analytics and innovation
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Global KPMG network commits to major investment in technology, people and innovation over next five years
                                                                                                                                                                                          • PwC’s investment focus on technology and skills continues
                                                                                                                                                                                            • EY expands SAP consulting capabilities with AgilityWorks acquisition
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Company Profiles

                                                                                                                                                                                              • BDO LPP
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Targeted approach to technology sees BDO focus on automation, analytics and innovation
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • BDO and Moore Stephens merge to create the largest UK accountant and business adviser focused on mid-sized businesses 
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Company performance
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 33: Financial analysis of BDO, 2015-19
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Deloitte LLP
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Deloitte combines nine European member firms effective from 1 June 2017
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Deloitte follows rivals into legal services market
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Financial performance
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 34: Financial analysis of Deloitte, 2015-19
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 35: Segmental turnover analysis of Deloitte, 2019, (£m and %)
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 36: Turnover analysis of Deloitte, by industry, 2019, (£m and % of total)
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Ernst & Young LLP
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • EY acquires Riverview Law as firm works to expand its legal offering
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • EY expands SAP consulting capabilities with AgilityWorks acquisition
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Financial Performance
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 37: Segmental turnover analysis of EY, 2019 (£m and % of total)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 38: Financial analysis of Ernst & Young, 2015-19
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Company strategy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Grant Thornton UK LLP
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Grant Thornton restructures to serve three strategic markets
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Grant Thornton to no longer bid for FTSE 350 audit work
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Grant Thornton sells wealth advisory arm to focus on core markets
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Financial performance
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 39: Segmental turnover analysis of Grant Thornton, 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 40: Financial analysis of Grant Thornton UK, 2014-18
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Company strategy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • KPMG LLP
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • KPMG undergoes restructuring in a bid to overhaul its audit practice and to draw clear line between audit and advisory businesses
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Global KPMG network commits to major investment in technology, people and innovation over next five years
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Financial performance
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 41: Segmental revenue analysis of KPMG, 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 42: Financial analysis of KPMG, 2015-19
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Investment focus on technology and skills continues
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Financial performance
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 43: Segmental turnover analysis of PwC, 2019, (£m and % of total)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 44: Financial analysis of PwC, 2015-19
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Company strategy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • RSM UK Holdings
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Company performance
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 45: Segmental turnover analysis of RSM UK Holdings, 2019 (£m and % of total)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 46: Financial analysis of RSM UK Holdings, 2015-19
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Company strategy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Methodology
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Further Sources and Contacts

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Trade associations
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Trade magazines
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Trade events

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        About the report

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        This report will give you a complete 360-degree view of your market. Not only is it rooted in robust proprietary and high-quality third-party data, but our industry experts put that data into context and you’ll quickly understand:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • The Consumer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          What They Want. Why They Want It.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • The Competitors

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Who’s Winning. How To Stay Ahead.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • The Market

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Size, Segments, Shares And Forecasts: How It All Adds Up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • The Innovations

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          New Ideas. New Products. New Potential.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • The Opportunities

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Where The White Space Is. How To Make It Yours.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • The Trends

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          What’s Shaping Demand – Today And Tomorrow.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Please Note: This is a sample report. All of the figures, graphs, and tables have been redacted.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Description