The finance industry has made some positive moves to close the gender pay gap.

New research shows the gap in bonus payments between men and women in accounting has shrunk by 60 per cent in the past year.

The sector appears to be reacting to what was a yawning gap between the bonuses received by each gender.

The Lloyd Morgan survey of 1,800 professionals in accounting and financial services revealed 23 per cent received a bonus, with the average bonus received by males at $10,612, compared to $8,025 for their female counterparts. This is compared to the previous year (2012 – 2013) where the bonus for male accountants was almost double - $12,900 versus $6,400 for women.

The narrowing gap is a sign that attitudes are shifting, as companies begin to recognise the lost potential that comes from undervaluing women, according to Lloyd Morgan general manager Paul Barbaro.

“It’s a great outcome for professional women in Australia and the data shows the trend to narrow the gap continues to improve so the industry should be applauded,” Mr Barbaro said.

“The payment of bonuses and benefits are a key part of a company’s arsenal to attract great talent however over the past year they have become a critical tool to retain their best performers.

“With flat economic conditions in recent years, many firms have shed staff and those who’ve remained have been asked to carry the extra workload so it’s become essential for bosses to pay close attention to remuneration and recognition and to work on any disparities.”

At the highest levels, the study showed some financial officers are paid in bonuses what many would accept as a good full wage.

The peak payout was $81,000 was for paid to a Sydney based female CFO in a large financial services company with an undergraduate degree, while the largest bonus reaped by a male was $130,000 for a Perth General Manager of Finance in the mining and resources sector.