Chartered Accountants are the unsung heroes of the business world. In whichever business setting they choose to place themselves in, the Chartered Accountant brings a unique set of skills and expertise to the table; skills and expertise that makes this profession one that is highly sought after the world over. 

Chartered Accountants (CAs) are entrusted with ensuring that the business they work for stays financially sound, and that means the CA needs to ensure financial transparency as well as compliance, which requires specialised skills, experience and a trusted reputation. 

Whether working in South Africa or the Netherlands, CAs are well-paid and always in demand.

To fully understand the salary variations for CAs in South Africa vs. those working in the Netherlands, you need to understand how the salaries are structured, and what benefits might be involved, while it can also help to know about the cost of living in both countries. 

For South African CAs considering making the move abroad to the beautiful Netherlands, this comparative guide will help you make the right decision based on your needs and your expectations. 

An Overview of Chartered Accountancy in South Africa 

In a recent survey, which we covered in a previous post, South African CAs were ranked as some of the most trusted and skilled in the world. South African CAs are highly respected by businesses as well as the financial industry as a whole, and they are responsible for ensuring that even within the tough South African business environment, companies stay compliant and can thrive. 

To practice as a CA in South Africa, certain licensing and certifications are required. CAs learning the trade in South Africa will usually start their journey with a degree in Accountancy and from there they will take on a learnership programme, which can take between 2 and 5 years to do, before completing qualifying examinations which are administered  by the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants. 

It is a long process, but once you qualify, the salary expectations are immense. 

How much do CAs get paid in South Africa?

According to Payscale, an international salary comparison website, in 2023 South Africa-based CAs on average earned an annual salary of R493,647. 

Entry-level CAs can expect an income of R330,000 per annum, but the more experienced CAs, especially those with 20+ years of experience, can take home an impressive R1,000,000 a year. 

As for additional benefits, this profession regularly enjoys medical and dental benefits. 

The skills that will earn a CA the biggest income include Financial Analysis (R548,703 p/a), Financial Reporting (R520,615 p/a) and Accounting (R579,733 p/a). 

CAs are also skilled enough to take on various positions within the company and often fill the roles of Financial Managers, Chief of Finance, Financial Director, Senior Accountant, and Finance Manager. 


An Overview of Chartered Accountancy in the Netherlands  

The CA profession in the Netherlands is governed by The Royal Netherlands Institute of Chartered Accountants (NBA), and according to Accountancy Europe, there are 15,500 CAs registered with the institute (registration is mandatory). 

CAs qualified to work in the Netherlands are required to have a Master’s Degree in Accountancy or Business Economics, they need to complete the professional post-master programme, and they need to have up to 3 years of practical experience.  

Much like in South Africa, CAs in the Netherlands are highly respected by businesses. 

How much do CAs get paid in the Netherlands?

According to Payscale, in 2023 Netherlands-based CAs on average earned an annual salary of €54,095 per year. 

According to Salary Explorer, another salary comparison website, entry-level CAs can expect an income of €31,920 per annum, but those with more experience, especially those with 20+ years of experience, can take home up to €75,360 a year

As for additional benefits, those working as CAs in the Netherlands can also look forward to medical and dental benefits. 

Popular CA skills and the average salary earned for those skills (according to Payscale) include auditing (€48,496 p/a) and financial reporting (€52,981 p/a). 

In the Netherlands, CAs will often fill the roles of Financial Manager, Senior Financial Accountant, Finance Director, and Financial Analyst. 

Economic Factors to Consider 

For CAs considering making the move to the Netherlands, having some insight into salaries alone is not enough. One also has to have an understanding of the influential economic factors present in both South Africa and the Netherlands.

Economic Factors in South Africa Affecting Chartered Accountant Salaries

Inflation Rates 

The impact of inflation rates on CA salaries in South Africa is one of the greatest economic factors to affect incomes. The up and down of inflation fluctuations in South Africa is directly influencing the earners’ purchasing power and the true value of how much they earn. It can also have a devastating effect on the CA’s realistic ability to negotiate a good deal for themselves. 

Economic Stability

The broader economic and, in many ways, social stability of South Africa significantly affects salaries for CAs. Economic downturns or upswings have direct implications on salary structures because they tend to reflect the overall health of the financial sector as well as the confidence in the country.

Economic Factors in the Netherlands Affecting Chartered Accountant Salaries

Cost of Living

The cost of living in the Netherlands plays a pivotal role in determining the compensation for CAs. Factors such as housing, transportation, and daily expenses, are directly affecting the purchasing power of salaries and are an important consideration for professionals thinking about  relocation.

Economic Stability

Similar to South Africa, economic stability in the Netherlands is also a key determinant of CA salaries. A stable economic environment can translate into a consistent demand for financial expertise and may positively impact compensation packages within the profession. At the moment though, the Netherlands is without a doubt not only more economically stable than South Africa, but it also has a lot more job opportunities for professionals. 

Why Moving to the Netherlands to Pursue a CA Career is a Smart Idea

Overall, CAs who immigrate to the Netherlands from South Africa have a lot of great reasons to do so. Not only are the salary expectations a lot better, especially when considering the cost of living as well as the living standards in South Africa vs. the Netherlands, but also because they will have more opportunities to grow their careers. 

According to recruitment consultant Nienke Sterk, whose interview about Financial Professionals and their job prospects was published on the Robert Walters website, South African CAs face little to no prospect of advancing their careers in South Africa, due to a tough labour market as well as certain inhibiting laws. In the Netherlands, however, there is a skills shortage in the market, making it easier for CAs to find employment and grow in their careers. 

Are you a South African CA considering the big move?

At iSprout, our team knows talent when we see it, and we can assist you in landing your dream CA job in the Netherlands. Contact us today or browse the vacancies on our website for more information.