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Fee income soars by 21.5 per cent in industry Back  
Fee income amongst Ireland’s top accountancy firms has soared by 21.5 per cent to €782 million according to the 2005 Annual FINANCE Accountancy Survey of the industry, which shows that Deloitte is the most efficient accountancy firm in Ireland, Horwath Bastow Charleton is the fastest growing, and over 1,000 people will be recruited into the industry in the coming year, an increase of 7 per cent on 2004.
The Irish accountancy industry grew by 21.5 per cent over the past year, bringing the total fee income earned amongst the twenty-two participants in this year’s FINANCE Accountancy Survey to €782 million, up from €643.4 million last year.

PricewaterhouseCoopers has returned to the top of the table in this year’s survey of the industry, with fee income growth of almost 20 per cent.

Overall, growth in the industry was fuelled by increasing regulation, with compliance and regulatory changes posed by international developments such as Sarbanes-Oxley offering opportunity to the industry.

However, in the managing partner forum on page 7 of this issue, the accountants also cited regulation as threatening the growth of the industry. Other obstacles identified included a shortage of staff, which respondents said was the single biggest issue at the moment.

The top accountancy firms hope to try and redress this situation in the coming year, by increasing their recruitment drives, and hope to recruit 1,456 people this year, an increase of six per cent on last year. 873 of these will be trainees.

Following on from the inclusion in last year’s survey of the ‘most efficient firm’, this year’s survey shows that Deloitte has been the most efficient over the past year. Its 767 staff members generated €147,458 each. This is not surprising when one considers that although Deloitte’s fee income grew by 30 per cent over the past year, its staff numbers only grew by 4 per cent.
Oliver Freaney & Co, who didn’t participate in last year’s survey, follows very closely behind Deloitte, with income of €145,455 for each of its 55 staff members. When just chargeable staff are looked at, Oliver Freaney tops the table, with €173,913 in income generated by each of its 46 chargeable staff members.

For the first time this year, responding firms gave a breakdown on the age and gender of their partners. This shows that of the 414 partners amongst the top firms, only 48, or 12 per cent, are female, with the best representation of male to female partners found at PwC, where 20 per cent, or 16 out of its 79 partners are female.

With respect to age, the majority of partners fall into the 40-49 age group. Horwath Bastow Charleton has one of the youngest work forces, with eight of its 15 partners falling into the 30-39 category.

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