The accountancy sector generated £6.4bn in tax borne (the firms’ direct contribution to tax revenues) and £9.1bn in collected tax, according to a report produced by one the UK's biggest firms PwC and TheCityUK.
The total contribution of £15.5bn was the equivalent to annual government spending on policing services, the report found.
The UK has the largest number of employees, 693,000, working in the legal and accounting activities sector of any EU country with 23% of them EU nationals.
There were, said the report, 60,470 legal and accounting firms in the UK in 2016 and firms where the number of employees is less than 99 make up 99% of the total.
The number of employees in the sector represents 2.2% of the UK workforce, and employment taxes were £5.0bn.
The average wage per employee was £61,176 and for each employee the average contribution to the public finances was £22,463.
Miles Celic, chief executive officer at TheCityUK, said, “Factors such as the vote to leave the EU, the accelerating pace of technological and demographic change are transforming the financial and related professional services ecosystem. In this context, the data generated by this study, which highlights the contribution made by the legal and accounting activities sector to the UK public finances, will be an important contribution to informing public policy decisions.”
The report predicted that small businesses, with operations dependent on local activities, are likely to be less affected than larger firms, which are more dependent on activity in the financial services sector, particularly international business.