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Salary estimates for an Apprentice Accountant in the UK

Individual stacks of coins getting bigger, leading up to a glass jar full of coins

As an apprentice accountant studying towards an intermediate (level 2), advanced (level 3) or higher (level 4-7) apprenticeship, you don’t have to give up earning a full-time salary. The government funds your studies through your employer as you learn knowledge, skills and behaviours specific to your role. But how much do accountancy apprentices typically earn?

In this article, we bring you up-to-date information on the salary you can expect as an accounting apprentice in the UK. And how salaries can differ by role, level of qualification, and location.

Student salaries are up 10%

The good news is the average salary for accounting students is on the rise. According to the AAT Salary Survey 2021, student salaries are up 10% since 2019.

The Association of Accounting Technicians’ research was particularly positive for students taking the apprenticeship route, revealing students on apprenticeships are 11% more satisfied than students not on apprenticeships – 83% vs 72%.

What is the minimum I will earn?

There are strict Government guidelines on the minimum apprenticeship wage. It’s linked to your age and how long you've been an apprentice, but many employers pay more than is legally required. They know that to attract good candidates, they need to offer a good salary.

How much can I expect to earn at each level of my apprenticeship?

How much you earn also depends on your prior accountancy knowledge, which qualification you are working towards and where in the UK you work. Apprentice accountants in popular locations with a higher cost of living like London, Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds tend to be paid more. On average, salaries in the south are higher than in the north.

There are several levels of apprenticeship, each providing a gateway into different accountancy/finance roles:

Level 2 accounting apprenticeships are the equivalent of 5 GCSEs at A* to C grade (or 9 to 4 on the new scale). You could be working in an entry-level role such as credit controller, accounts/finance assistant or junior clerk on a starting salary between £10,000 and £14,000.

Level 3 accounting apprenticeships are equivalent to two A-level passes. At this stage, you’ll be stepping into an assistant accountant, advanced credit controller or trainee accounting technician role. These involve more responsibility, so your starting salary will be between £11,000 and £16,000.

Level 4 accounting apprenticeships are the next stage up from A-levels, Level 3 BTECs, Scottish Highers and other equivalents. You could work as a trainee tax adviser or internal audit practitioner, and expect a starting salary of between £12,000 and £17,000.

Level 7 accounting apprenticeships are for those aspiring to become leaders in accountancy, taxation, finance and business. They include chartered accountant apprenticeship pathways with ACCA, CIMA or ACA. You’ll provide financial information and advice to organisations big and small, and play a key part in the financial health of the organisation, so salary expectations rise to between £14,000 and £18,000.

Graduate accounting apprenticeships give you the opportunity to gain a full bachelor’s or master’s degree. You can work as an accounts manager or accounts technician, and expect to earn between £16,000 and £20,000.

Will I get paid to learn?

Yes! Time spent on training is included as part of your regular working hours, which means you will be paid for it. You’ll spend at least 20% of your working time being trained.

Which areas of the UK offer the best pay for apprentice accountants?

Current AAT research shows that London is the top paying region for accounting students in the UK. On average, there is a 32% difference in salaries between London and the lowest paying regions in the North East and North West.

What can I expect to earn as a qualified accountant?

As you progress through the apprenticeship levels you will become more qualified – and therefore more employable. Your salary will reflect that, and rise as you gain your qualifications.

There’s certainly plenty of incentive to move up the ladder in this sector as, according to Accountancy Age, the average salary for accountants in the UK is £63,715.

Where can I find an accountancy apprenticeship?

At Kaplan, our recruitment team receives hundreds of apprenticeship vacancies from employers each year looking to hire new talent. Take a look at our live accounting apprentice job opportunities across the UK and find the right opportunity for you.