A chartered accountant who qualified in 2000 and is employed in the industrial and commercial sector earns an average remuneration package of 81,600 a year, according to the Annual Salary Survey of the Leinster Society of Chartered Accountants ( LSCA)/The Accountants Panel.

A total of 536 chartered accountants responded to the survey, which was carried out by Brendan Burgess of The Accountants Panel on behalf of the LSCA.

The survey found that chartered accountants working in the financial services sector tend to be paid more than their counterparts in industry and commerce. Their fringe benefits also tend to be significantly better.

For instance, the average head of finance in industry and commerce has a package worth 129,000 per annum, while the average head of finance in the financial services sector receives a package of 171,900 per annum.

Both the financial services and industry/commerce sectors pay better than practice, according to the report. In the top four accountancy firms, audit managers are paid 89,600, while audit seniors and supervisors receive 52,800. Outside of the top four, managers are paid on average 77,200, while seniors receive 44,000.

According to the survey, the lowest annual salary paid to a chartered accountant was 35,000, which was earned by a senior in an accountancy practice outside the top four.

Conversely, the highest salary was 500,000 paid to the head of finance in a company in the industry and commerce sector with 101 to 250 employees.

The survey notes that the main factors influencing salaries are the size of the company, the position held within the company and also the year of qualification. More experienced chartered accountants are invariably in more senior positions and, as a consequence, earn higher salaries.

However, the number of chartered accountants who have company cars as part of their remuneration packages has declined over the last number of years. In 2002, 36% of respondents had company cars, but by 2006 this had fallen to 14%, possibly due to changes in tax.

There is also evidence that cars have been replaced to some extent by car allowances. There were no major differences in regard to other fringe benefits, although the percentage of respondents receiving such benefits in 2006 dropped by a couple of percent across all categories from 2005.

Commenting on the results of the survey, the chairman of the Leinster Society of Chartered Accountants, Mr Gerard Perry, said: "Our Annual Salary Survey has once again demonstrated that chartered accountancy offers graduates a well-paid career where they are valued by employers.

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