The UK Opportunity for International Auditors

For every auditor who contacts me looking for a new role, I receive at least 25 requests from some of the UK’s best accounting firms to interview them.
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The UK isn’t just crying out for auditors; it’s screaming.

I recently asked my network of accounting professionals what they felt the solution to the UK’s auditing talent shortage was:

– 40% said “mentoring and developing talent.”

– 30% said “investing in technology and flexible working systems.”

– 20% said “recruiting internationally.”

Developing talent and investing in technology are great long-term solutions that will pay off in the next few years – but the accounting industry needs solutions now.

I’m part of the 20% who believe that recruiting internationally is the best immediate solution to the auditing talent shortage. Let me explain why.

 What benefits does the UK offer international auditors?

There are a number of countries with very similar auditing processes to the UK, which makes hiring auditing talent from these countries relatively straightforward.

In this article, I’m going to focus on South Africa, simply because I’m receiving regular enquiries from auditors in South Africa looking to relocate to the UK.

The UK accounting industry can benefit hugely from South Africa’s talented pool of auditors. In return, when relocating to the UK, South Africa’s auditors benefit from the following:

  • 20-30% uplift on their existing salary in South Africa. Senior Audit Managers, for example, typically earn R350,000 more in the UK than in South Africa.
  • Long-term career security and stability, with access to leading financial institutions, international clients, and career growth potential.
  • Pick of the UK’s best accounting employers – I’ve currently got around 60 live auditing vacancies with accounting firms offering exceptional benefits packages.
  • Faster career progression, with auditors progressing quicker to management and partnership levels in the UK than South Africa.
  • High standard of living with free healthcare (and many employers offering private), free education, and infrastructure.


Relocation Case Study: Charl from South Africa

 Charl, an Audit Senior from South Africa with over 5 years of experience, contacted me in January 2023 wanting a new start in the UK.

The prospect of living in a country with a stable political climate and low crime rate was a major motivator for Charl. He wanted to live somewhere that offered stability and function, and the UK further appealed because it provided international accounting connections which South Africa didn’t have.

After getting to know Charl, his personality, and future goals – we identified that the friendly and welcoming county of Surrey in the UK would suit him.

Surrey is a sociable and friendly place to live, offering some of the highest standards of living in the country. Charl already had a few personal connections who would be living close by, something I always recommend clients to consider when relocating to the UK.

Within two months, Charl had been interviewed by four of Surrey’s leading accounting firms and had received an excellent job offer that surpassed his original salary expectations significantly.

Charl moves to Surrey to start his new role, and life, in August 2023 – and I’m looking forward to showing him around the local pubs!

Charl’s advice for international auditors considering relocating to the UK is as follows:

Prioritise organising your Visa first

The UK offers a range of long-term work, short-term work, and business immigration routes (sponsored and non-sponsored). The UK government site is a great resource for further information on your Visa requirements.

If you don’t have a British passport, a recruiter will be able to advise which firms will assist with this part of the process. Many accounting firms will offer to sponsor you, and I predict this will increase in the next year as accounting firms embrace the opportunity of international talent.

Organise your finances and accommodation

Put aside enough money for a few months of living in the UK to bridge the gap when you arrive. You will also need to look into finding somewhere to live. As the rental market moves quickly in the UK, you may need to consider a short-term arrangement for when you arrive (for example, staying with relatives, or booking an Airbnb) so that you can look for accommodation on your arrival – with many rental properties available immediately.

Contact a specialist accounting recruiter on the ground

Charl recommends partnering with a recruiter on the ground, who understands the accounting market in the UK, and can work with you to get you the best role and salary.

A good recruiter will take the time to get to know you and your personal circumstances to be able to recommend the best job and employer for you. For example, would you prefer to be living in a buzzy city like London, or are you relocating with your family, making it more important to be placed near the UK’s best state schools in a leafy and safe suburb?

If you’re an auditor in South Africa or further afield, who is interested in relocating to the UK, email us at [email protected].

Image Credit: Nicole Rathmayr


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