For Newly Qualified accountants it’s sometimes all about the base…..

Salary Data NQ

As a newly qualified accountant coming out of training contract in 2021, there are lots of things you’ll be thinking and wondering about. For many people, just like you, money is usually high on the agenda.  You have, after all, worked hard and sacrificed a lot, so it’s only fair to be compensated correctly for the value of your time.

What’s the going salary for a newly qualified accountant? What information is accurate and what can I rely on? I heard Mary got 52K and Laura got 62K  – what does that mean?  How do I benchmark my salary against the going ‘rate’ out there?

…nobody wants to be short-changed.

Well, look no further…

Most salary surveys give you an average or range. But depending on the sample size, the average figure can be skewed, and often doesn’t give a true reflection of the actual base salary.  And sometimes (more than you might imagine) the numbers are not based on surveys but on sentiment.  I don’t know about you but I prefer to use hard data when making big decisions that affect my life….

Over the last 6 months, across Dublin & Cork, we’ve helped lots of newly qualified accountants make their first move after their training contract. For fun we tracked their base salaries (yes that’s what we regard as fun here in Barden!) and created some real-time data points, just for you.

Interesting, right?  We’ll let you draw your own conclusions from these numbers…..

Now here are the two big caveats:

  • Base salary is only a part of Total Compensation (Base + Package) – want to know about total comp for newly qualified accountants? Ask one of our experts in Barden and they’ll set you on the right track.
  • Sometimes…people get paid a higher base for the same job in a different company. Why?  It could be that one company offers additional benefits and the other doesn’t, it could be because one role has a lot of travel and the other doesn’t, it could be that one company finds it harder to attract accountants than the other, or it could be due to a whole host of other variables.  When it comes to base salary, make sure you’re not comparing apples with oranges; ask one of our expert team in Barden first.

It should not be all about the base in your first few moves PQE. You may not have prepared a set of accounts yet, you may not have done a month-end management pack, in fact, there are probably a lot of things that you’ve yet to get practical experience in.  Your first few years PQE should really be about getting good experience working with great people… and of course getting fairly paid while you do.

It’s not really about your base salary now; it’s about what your base salary will be in ten years time and for the twenty or thirty years after that. Earning follows learning, not the other way around.

If you’re curious, want to learn more and want to base your life decisions on actual data make sure you contact Lisa Hughes ( in Dublin or Siobhán Sexton ( in Cork and they will take it from there.  Simple.

At Barden we invest our resources to bring you the very best insights on all things to do with your professional future. Got a topic you would like us to research? Got an insight you would like us to share with our audience? Drop us a note to and we will take it from there. Easy.

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