The five best cities for careers in accounting and finance

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Read about the world's best cities for a career in finance and accounting

The accounting industry is evolving

As the Big Four and other leading firms have looked east, the best young finance professionals have broadened their horizons, aspiring to work internationally and stay close to the action. There are various factors that determine which cities present the most rewarding opportunities for accounting and finance, from basic indicators of economic clout and the ease of doing business to more general measures of quality of life.

We’ve compiled a list of the world’s five best cities for careers in finance and accounting - based on data from The Economist Intelligence Unit’s liveability survey and a PwC’s report on trends in global pay for accountants.

Hong Kong

In 2011, KPMG chief Michael Andrew became the first global chairman of a Big Four firm to be based in Asia. Andrew’s decision to relocate to Hong Kong was based on a firm belief in the importance of tapping into the growth of emerging markets. This rapid growth plays a large part in attracting the best young finance professionals to Asian cities.

Hong Kong received top marks for its infrastructure and education in EIU’s liveability rankings, and was rated second for ease of doing business behind Singapore by PwC.

Average salary for part-qualified accountant: £18,600 to £27,000


PwC rated Singapore as the most business-friendly city in its Cities of Opportunity report. This analysis is supported by the city-state’s rapid growth, with its reputation as a key financial and business hub attracting many of the biggest organisations to its shores. Such is the rate of growth that accounting firms in Singapore are struggling to attract the talent they need.

The strength of the city’s infrastructure and transport helps to explain its success - from a livability perspective, it’s also warm and sunny most of the year, and famously clean and modern.

Average salary for part-qualified accountant: £24,000 to £30,000



In the EIU’s 2015 liveability survey Melbourne retained its spot at the top. Recognised, among other things, for its falling crime rate, cultural vibrancy, and world class infrastructure, Melbourne has been successful in attracting some of the best talent from Europe and Asia. Moreover, recent restructuring in a number of listed and blue chip companies has created a wealth of opportunities for newly qualified and post-qualified accountants.

Average salary for part-qualified accountant: £32,400 to £40,500


Toronto is another city that’s always there or thereabouts in global quality of life rankings. The Canadian city is generally recognised for its cosmopolitan atmosphere and intellectual capital. Opportunities for accounting careers in Toronto are also on the up.

In Canada, an accounting graduate with a few years of experience can expect to receive as much as £41,000, depending on the size of the organisation and sector, with firms in Toronto paying an average 4.8% higher than the national average.

Average salary for part-qualified accountant: £19,200 to £41,000


View of london business district from the River Thames

Despite being ranked below Reykjavik and just above Detroit on the EIU’s liveability scale, London’s potential to attract would-be expats and reward the best talent means that it’s still recognised as one of the world’s leading financial centres.

PwC has highlighted London’s technological readiness and its culture of idea exchange between organisations as factors that help it stand out from the crowd. The prominent finance sector and the city’s long association with the biggest names in the industry have also helped to secure London’s place as one the best places to be an accountant.

Average salary for part-qualified accountant: £28,000 to £40,000 

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