Accounting Services

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    Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)

    The ABS has previously surveyed the Accounting Services industry as part of the Legal and Accounting Services Survey (Collection ID 242). Surveys were conducted in respect of 1995/96, 1992/93 and 1987/88.

    Although a survey of the Legal Services Industry was conducted with reference to 1998/99, no survey of Accounting Services was conducted.

    The survey of Accounting Services for 2001/02 is the first time that information about this industry has been collected independently to that of the Legal Services industry.

    The collection of statistics for the Accounting Services industry is planned to be undertaken three yearly. The collection is a survey of businesses mainly engaged in providing accounting services.

    The unit for which statistics are to be reported is the practice (combination of business and service company management units). Development of the survey commenced on 1/7/01 and involved consultation with peak bodies and industry sources including potential data users. These consultations assist in determining survey scope and content, including requirements for activity data and provide some appreciation of the level of coverage provided by the frame.

    To provide key measures on the performance and characteristics of the Accounting Services industry. To identify the nature and structure of the industry in terms of employment, income, expenses and its contribution to the Australian economy.

    The collection will meet National Accounts requirements for industry aggregates within ANZSIC class 7842. This demand is for Australian and New Zealand Standard Industry Classification (ANZSIC) class data. The Economic Activity Survey (EAS) collects employment and detailed financial data from a wide range of industries, including the Accounting Services industry. To avoid duplication, the Accounting Services Industry Survey collects some employment and financial data from a subset of its sample at a level of detail that meets various EAS needs (EAS in turn, collects even more detailed financial information from a subset of its sample to meet the needs of the Input-Output Section of the ABS).

    The Accounting Services Industry survey is conducted as part of the Business Services survey. A range of profit and loss, balance sheet and employment details is sought from businesses. Development of the survey involved consultations with a number of organisations including the ASCPA, the ICA and other industry sources to establish views on significant aspects/outputs of the industry which could be incorporated in the collection.

    Published data will reflect a range of standard outputs including: business employment details, income and expense dissected by major component and financial performance ratios together with a set of activity data outputs.

    The scope of the collection is all Australian accounting practices that were operating in the 2001-02 financial year: A practice is classified as an accounting practice if its predominant income is from the provision of accounting services (i.e. if the practice is classified to class 7842 of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC)). The primary activities of class 7842 include: accountant (own account), accounting service, auditing service, auditor (own account), bookkeeping service, tax agent (own account).

    The coverage source is the Australian Business Register (ABR). Any business on the ABR with an ANZSIC code of 7842 was eligible for selection. Therefore, any accounting practice that is represented on the class 7842 portion of the ABR is covered by the survey. A practice may be represented by its accounting firm, its service entity, or some other entity.


    Conceptual framework
    The Accounting Services Survey is undertaken as part of the ABS program of annual economic surveys. Data items, classifications and concepts are consistent with ABS standards.

    The survey also uses the concepts of an accounting practice, an accounting firm, and a service entitiy.

    An accounting firm is a legal entity established specifically to practice accounting and related services.

    A service entity is a company, trust or other entity established by an accounting firm to provide administrative, secretarial or similar services to only that accounting firm.

    A practice can be an accounting firm whose business is conducted via a single entity (e.g. an accountant practising as a sole practitioner, or accountants practising in partnership) or a business which is conducted via more than one related entites (e.g. an accountants' partnership, a service entity, and/or other entities involved in business consulting, financial planning, etc.).

    Data is reported for the practice. Respondents are asked to consolidate data for all entities in the practice. Any internal payments between entities comprising the practice should be excluded.

    Main outputs
    The Accounting Services, Australia (ABS cat. no. 8668.0) publication will be produced from the survey. The publication contains summary employment, income, expense and performance tables.

    The tables in the publication include:

    • detailed items of income
    • detailed items of expenditure
    • characteristics of employment
    • characteristics of practicing accountants employed
    • selected statistics by practice size groupings
    • selected performance ratios

    State level estimates are produced for:
    • number of practices
    • employment
    • wages and salaries
    • total income

    The industry classification used is the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC).

    Two classifications of practice size are used. The first is a classification by the number of principals or partners of the practice, and this classification is used in the publication. The second is a classification by the employment size of the practice. This latter classification was the only size classification used in past survey cycles (of the Legal and Accounting Services Survey - Collection ID 242), and is used to produce special data requests and make comparisions with past results.

    Other concepts (summary)

    New South Wales
    South Australia
    Western Australia
    Northern Territory

    Comments and/or Other Regions
    Not applicable


    Frequency comments
    The collection of statistics for the Accounting Services industry is planned to be undertaken three yearly.

    The Accounting Services industry was surveyed as part of the Legal and Accounting Services Surveys (Collection ID 242) for 1995-96, 1992-93, and 1987-88.


    Data availability comments
    Data available in publication: Accounting Services, Australia (cat. no. 8668.0)

    17/09/2004 08:08 AM