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This publication presents statistics for both the legal and accounting services industries.
Information in this publication was collected in a survey of businesses classified to Group 784 of the 1993 edition of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC). This group comprises two Classes: 7841 Legal Servcies, which includes all businesses mainly engaged in providing legal services and 7842 Accounting Services, which includes all businesses mainly engaged in providing accounting, bookkeeping and auditing services.
This is the third time the ABS has surveyed the legal and accounting services industries. Surveys were previously conducted in respect of the 1992-93 and 1987-88 financial years, and statistics were released in the publications Legal and Accounting Services, Australia, 1992-93 (Cat. no. 8678.0), Legal Services Industry, Australia, 1987-88 (Cat. no. 8667.0), and Accounting Services Industry, Australia, 1987-88 (Cat. No. 8668.0).
Results from the other business services collections have been released in the following publications:
These publications contain a selection of the information available from the surveys. More detailed information is available from the ABS on request.
The ABS is committed to providing more information on the priority service industries sector of the economy. However, the breadth of activities encompassed in the sector poses the problem of selecting which industries to include. To this end the ABS welcomes comments and suggestions from users recommending industries and data items for inclusion in future surveys. These comments should be addressed to:
Service Industries Surveys,
PO Box 10, Belconnen, ACT, 2616.
Acting Australian Statistician
LEGAL SERVICES, MAIN FEATURES
This section of the publication presents results in respect of the 1995-96 financial year of a survey of businesses in the legal services industry. The legal services industry includes barristers, solicitors, and other businesses whose primary activity is the provision of legal services such as patent attorneys, legal aid services, conveyancing services (provided by units of qualified legal practitioners) and notaries.
A legal practice
Many legal practices are conducted via a single entity (e.g. a solicitor or barrister practising as a sole practitioner or solicitors practising in partnership). Other practices are conducted via more than one entity, i.e. a legal firm and a service entity.
For the purposes of this survey, where a practice was conducted via a legal firm and a service entity, these entities were consolidated and treated as one practice if the service entity provided resources to a single legal firm only. Where a service entity provided services to more than one legal firm, the service entity has been excluded from the data in this publication.
There were 64 practices with employment of 100 or more persons. Although these practices accounted for less than 1% of the number of practices, they accounted for significant proportions of total employment (21%) and total income (30%).
Legal Services, Key Figures
This section of the publication presents results in respect of the 1995-96 financial year of a survey of businesses in the accounting services industry. The accounting services industry includes units whose primary activity is the provision of accounting, auditing or bookkeeping services.
An accounting practice
Many accounting practices are conducted via a single entity (e.g. an accountant practising as a sole practitioner or accountants practising in partnership). Other practices are conducted via more than one entity i.e. an accounting firm and a service entity.
For the purposes of this survey, where a practice was conducted via an accounting firm and a service entity, these entities were consolidated and treated as one practice if the service entity provided resources to a single accounting firm only. Where a service entity provided services to more than one accounting firm, the service entity has been excluded from the data in this publication.
Size of industry
At 30 June 1996, there were 8,389 practices in the accounting services industry. These practices had employment of 66,792 persons and generated $4,939.1 million in total income.
In terms of total employment, most (95%) practices were small, employing fewer than 20 persons. However, these practices accounted for only 56% of the total employment and contributed 42% of the total income of the industry.
There were 18 practices with employment of 100 or more persons. Although these practices accounted for less than 1% of the number of practices, they accounted for significant proportions of total employment (26%) and total income (39%).
There were 66,792 persons employed in the accounting services industry at June 1996. The majority (83%) of employment was on a full-time basis. The employment in the industry at 30 June 1996 represented an 11% increase since June 1993.
The number of working principals of accounting firms increased by 9% in the three years to June 1996, while the number of other qualified accountants as employees increased 22% in the three-year period. In contrast, the number of other employees (i.e. support staff) increased by only 6% over the period.
At 30 June 1996, females accounted for 51% of employment in the industry, an increase from the 48% recorded in 1993. However, only 17% of principals and 41% of other qualified employees were female.
The 8,389 practices in the accounting services industry generated $4,939.1 million in income in 1995-96. Taxation (32%), general business and personal accounting (27%) and auditing (18%) were the three main sources of income. The proportions recorded in 1995-96 for these fields of accounting services were similar to those recorded in 1992-93.
Labour costs were the major expense incurred by accounting practices in 1995-96 and accounted for 56% of expenses. In 1992-93 labour costs accounted for 52% of expenses. The increase reflects the large increase in the numbers of employed accountants.
The accounting services industry recorded an operating profit before tax of $954.6 million in 1995-96. This represented an operating profit margin of 19.4%, which was down marginally on the 20.5% recorded in 1992-93.
The accounting services industry was concentrated in the two largest States, New South Wales and Victoria. Accounting firms in these two States accounted for 65% of total employment and 69% of total income. The relative contributions by each of the States have not changed significantly since 1992-93.Accounting Services, Key Figures
SYMBOLS AND OTHER USAGES
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