Male accountants are paid 40 to 50 per cent more than their female counterparts, according to a survey by chartered accountants in Australia and New Zealand.
Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CAANZ) said a study of 4500 members indicated an average pay gap of about $50,000 in Australia and $60,000 in New Zealand.
The annual survey confirmed men hold most of the senior positions in accounting, suggesting an unconscious bias behind the gender pay gap and its reality.
CAANZ chief executive Ainslie van Onselen said it was a concerning result.
"This survey has revealed some uncomfortable truths," she said.
"As accountants, we trust the numbers, and while our profession is paid well, these figures paint a challenging picture for women in accounting over the life of their careers."
The survey also found a pay gap perception problem between men and women.
Nearly seven in 10 women believe a gender pay gap exists, compared to just three in 10 men.
"This disconnect suggests more work needs to be done to change the perception of pay discrepancies in the industry, as almost 70 per cent of male respondents don't think this issue exists," Van Onselen said.
The survey also found women make more career sacrifices for their families, with nearly half taking career breaks for parental care or to care for others, compared with just 20 per cent of men.
"Most women believe this has a significant impact on their career progression opportunities," Van Onselen said, indicating there was a need for more flexible working arrangements for women.
"Today we are challenging all accounting professionals and employers to not only acknowledge the gender pay gap, but to take action."
She said the industry would begin to educate members and track its progress to close the gender pay gap.
"These results are incredibly disappointing and without change we fail to acknowledge the equal work women do in our profession."