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Fee income grows by 11 per cent Back  
Fee income of top Irish accountancy firms rises to over •570 million, but salary growth to plateau over coming year.
There has been a healthy level of growth amongst Ireland’s top accountancy firms according to the to the 2002 Finance Accountancy survey, but the rate of growth is down on last year.
Fee income amongst the country’s top firms rose by an average of 11 per cent to •572 million, but this is down from the 16 per cent increase in fee income seen in the 2001 survey.
PricewaterhouseCoopers top the table with a fee income of •157 million, and KPMG is in second place with •107 million.
However the healthy growth rates have come during a difficult year for the accountancy industry internationally and there is a feeling that there could be further knock-on effects on Ireland. The Irish industry appears to be battening down the hatches with expected salary increases at the lower end of the scale than have been seen in recent years.
The survey respondents predicted that the majority of salary increases over the next 12 months would be at the lower end of the scale, with 43 per cent of respondents expecting salary increases in the next year to be between 0-5 per cent. In the last year only 14 per cent of respondents paid salary increase at the 0-5 per cent level, while 36 per cent were paid increases of 6-10 per cent, and a further 21 per cent saw salary increases of 10-15 per cent.
The tightening market is also seen in the levels of bonuses that companies expect to pay their staff over the next year. In contrast to the 2001 survey no company is expecting to pay bonuses at the 11-15 per cent of salary range over the coming year - in 2001, 19 per cent of bonuses were expected to be paid at this level. Instead in 2002 over 77 per cent of bonuses will be in the 0-10 per cent range.
Although most of the top firms expressed their faith in the Irish economy with one managing partner calling it ‘robust’ there were serious concerns over the level of Irish public spending.
Corporate finance, accounting, auditing and tax were all areas that the companies believed held the strongest prospects for growth over the coming 12 months however corporate recovery and insolvency services were also identified as an area of growth - for the first time in some years.
KPMG leads the league in fee income per partner, at •2.3 million up over 9 per cent from last year’s survey. But rival PWC recorded a fee income per partner of •2 million up 15.5 per cent from last year - demonstrating a strong level of per partner growth. While KPMG has led for some time , competitor companies seem to be catching up. KPMG also hold the highest ‘partner-to-staff’ ratio at 1:24. (Full survey: page 4).

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