Accountancy Rich List 2017
Raymond Doherty 5 Sep 2017 10:21am

The Rich List: analysis

Welcome to the fourth edition of the economia Accountancy Rich List. So what has changed since last year, and what do those changes and trends tell us?
Caption: It's been another strong year for financial services

Rich getting richer

Firstly we can reveal that the millionaire/billionaire accountants in the economia Top 100 are getting much richer in this, the fourth annual list. Combined, our 100 are worth a staggering £43.2bn, up from £30.3bn last year (a 42.5% increase). This year we have 14 billionaires against just eight last year. Our top 10 are worth £20.72bn, up over £5bn on last year’s £15.68bn, a cool 32.1% rise in a year. Our bottom line has risen from £40m to £60m and we have 18 new entries this year over the UK and Ireland, led by Sunil Vaswani, who with his family is worth £1.972bn.

The number of chartered accountants has risen slightly from 40 in 2016 to 41. As with the complete Sunday Times Rich List, the overwhelming majority of the entrants are male. Only two women make the top 100, although one of them does make it into the top five. It is also a very meritocratic list, with 86 of the 100 founding their own businesses, slightly down on last year, but still a higher proportion than the 75% in the Sunday Times Rich List.

These are just the statistics. So who made the top 100? The list will be published, in full, throughout this week on our website and through our social media channels, with the top ten revealed on Friday.

Compiled by Philip Beresford since 1989, The Sunday Times Rich List has been described as an important part of social history and the data continues to prove compelling reading – after all, people like to read about other people’s money. economia asked Beresford to apply his tried and tested formula on the accountancy profession and he created the Accountancy Rich List, detailing the 100 wealthiest accountants around the world.

In the September 2014 issue of the magazine, economia focused on 10 successful and philanthropic accountants from the list who had used their wealth to contribute more widely to the economy in terms of creating wealth, jobs and a strong community spirit.

Beresford has included only those who trained as an accountant or have an accountancy qualification. To qualify, the 100 have also had to build up businesses or hold stakes in businesses worth £30m or more. Stakes in quoted companies were valued as at the end of June 2017 and Beresford also took note of share sales and dividends.

Private companies were valued on the basis of the valuations pertaining to the nearest quoted company. If no such direct comparison was available, he valued the private company by a multiple of the sector average price/earnings ration as quoted in the Financial Times at the end of June 2016.

The sale prices achieved for companies were taken from reports in the quality financial press and these were used, less a notional tax charge. Also, if a company was reported to be for sale with a price tag attached in the quality press, that figure was used.

Every effort has been made to avoid any personal information about the 100 and the list concentrates solely on their business acumen, how they built a business, what it did and occasional quotes from the 100 about their experience in business. No one has had any access at all to any personal financial data such as bank accounts in the compilation of the list.