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Editorial Back  
Accountancy compares well
Ireland’s accountancy sector is in extremely good health, as our annual survey on pages 4,5 and 6 of this issue shows. With fee income up by over 20 per cent amongst the top 22 firms, to €782 million, Ireland’s accountancy sector is blossoming against a background of economic buoyancy and continuing regulatory/compliance initiatives, which are leading to a greater demand for their services.

The Irish industry compares well with its counterpart in the UK, where, according to the 2005 Accountancy Age survey of the industry, the top 50 UK firms only grew by 6 per cent, during a similar period. Amongst the Big 4, average growth was 5 per cent, compared to average growth of almost 20 pre cent amongst the Big 4 in Ireland.

However, income generated per Irish partner is on a similar level to that in the UK. For example, in KPMG in the UK, fee income per partner was ?1.9 million, compared with €2.6 million in Ireland. At Ernst 7 Young in the UK, the average partner generated ?2.1 million in fees, compared with €2.3 million by its Irish counterpart.

Legal firms
Ireland’s top law firms are no slouches either when it comes to generating fee income, with a recent survey by British publication ‘The Lawyer’ describing Ireland as ‘one of the most vibrant and wealthy legal markets in the world’, where the profits of the leading Irish firms are ‘notably better’ than mid-size London firms.

The survey, which unlike FINANCE’s accountancy survey, was not based on figures given by the firms themselves, indicates that the top five Irish law firms - McCann Fitzgerald, A&L Goodbody, Matheson Ormsby Prentice and William Fry - rake in annual fees of €250 million. This puts them far below the top five accountancy firms – PwC, KPMG, Deloitte, E&Y and BDO Simpson Xavier, who in this year’s survey pulled in fees totalling €634.5 million.

However, law firms employ significantly lower numbers than accountancy firms, and according to The Lawyer’s survey, amongst Ireland’s top five firms, fee income per lawyer was €850,000. In the accountancy top five on the other hand, income per chargeable staff member was, on average, just €128,540.

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