Are you considering becoming an accountant but are wondering “How big is the accounting industry in Australia? Is there room for me?”
If so, you’ve come to the right place. To help you out, we’ve rounded up the most relevant Australian accounting industry statistics.
Stick around to learn the answers to questions such as “how many accounting companies are there in Australia?” and maybe you’ll end up getting hired by one of them.
Quick Accounting Facts About Australia
- There were over 3,000,000 chartered accountants worldwide in 2020.
- 117,236 chartered accountants were based in Australia and New Zealand in 2020.
- 57% of Aussie certified accountants in 2020 were male.
- As of 2021, there are 34,396 businesses offering accounting services in Australia.
- Job-seeking accountants in Oz are most interested in how much money they’ll make.
- In 2020-’21, there were 20 tax fraud convictions in Oz.
- 83% of companies were looking to increase their recruitment activity in 2021.
- There were over 8,700 accounting vacancies Down Under in early 2022.
- 34,976 students enrolled in Ozzie accounting and bookkeeping-related programs in 2020.
- The projected annual accounting industry market size growth Down Under in 2022 is 1.2%.
General Accounting Statistics
1. There were over 3,000,000 chartered accountants worldwide in 2020.
In November 2020, the International Federation of Accountants had 180 professional accountancy organisations (PAOs) across 135 countries/jurisdictions as its members.
2. The Big Four accounting firms employed a total of 1,148,505 people worldwide in 2020.
The four largest accounting/audit firms in the world that work with most publicly traded companies had the workforce to be up to the task in 2020, namely:
- Ernst and Young (EY)—298,965
- PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)—284,258
They also made investors happy by generating a combined revenue of nearly 160 billion USD that year, with PwC coming out on top with $47.8 billion.
Australian Accounting Industry Statistics
3. 117,236 chartered accountants were based in Australia and New Zealand in 2020.
The professional body Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand perhaps comes closest to answering the question “How many accountants are there in Australia in 2020?”, counting exactly 86,549 members in Oz and 30,687 in NZ that year.
Its overall membership internationally, however, amounted to 128,683 individuals, broken down as follows:
4. 57% of Aussie certified accountants in 2020 were male.
Only 43 per cent of CPANZ’s members were female in 2020. This is owing to 59% of its full members being male and just 41% female. The gender participation scales were somewhat balanced out by the body’s provisional members, though, as 52% of them were women and 48% men.
5. 44% of CPANZ full members in 2020 were between the ages of 40 and 60.
In addition, 43% were under the age of 40 whereas just 13% were 60 and over.
Of the provisional members, in turn, 71% were younger than 30, with the remaining 29% being over that age.
6. As of 2021, there are 34,396 businesses offering accounting services in Australia.
In addition to looking into how many accounting firms there were in Australia, an accounting industry report from October 2021 estimated the sector’s market size at around $26 billion and the number of employees at 148,614.
7. Accountants were the 11th most trusted professionals in AU in 2021.
When Aussie adults were asked to pick the five most trustworthy professions from a list, just 8% of them included accountants in their selection.
The most trusted pros were doctors with 61%, nurses with 48% and pharmacists with 39% while police officers and teachers were tied for fourth place with 31%.
8. 68% of accounting firms in Australia were satisfied with their business conditions in 2021.
The same report also revealed how many accounting firms in Australia were planning to acquire another firm to expand their capability and staff—52%.
9. Job-seeking accountants in Oz are most interested in how much money they’ll make.
As demand for accountants in Australia soared in 2021, a survey of over 11,000 job-seeking ones revealed that the most important aspect for 27.3% of them was how much they’d get paid.
In second place came work/life balance with 22.2% while career advancement was third with 12.2%.
Further, 8.5% of candidates cared the most about the job’s location whereas 7.7% emphasised the importance of the corporate culture.
They cared the least, however, about the size and reputation of the company, its CSR and their colleagues’ characteristics.
10. Xero was the most popular accounting software in ANZ in 2020.
While Xero had a dominant share of 56% among businesses that used accounting software, other popular programs in Australia and New Zealand were MYOB AccountRight with 27%, Quickbooks online with 9% whereas all other suites combined accounted for 8%.
Australian Accounting Fraud Statistics
11. In 2021, KPMG Australia disciplined 1,131 of its partners and staff for cheating on tests.
After KPMG, one of the largest accounting firms in Australia uncovered rampant misconduct during its internal online training tests in the four years leading up to 2020, it dismissed two partners and disciplined 12% of its overall staff.
Namely, 16 partners and 30 staff members were hit with pay cuts while the other 1,083 employees got warnings for sharing answers.
The scandal will also cost the company $615,000 in fines from the US audit regulator.
12. In 2020-’21, there were 20 tax fraud convictions in Oz.
(Australian Taxation Office)
During 2020-2021, there were 198 successful prosecutions under the Tax Administration Act 1953 of offences such as failing to file or keep accounting records, cooking the books and dodging the authorities.
The cases resulted in 192 criminal convictions, reparation orders worth $56,400 and fines to the tune of $1.65 million.
Demand for Accountants in Australia
13. 83% of companies were looking to increase their recruitment activity in 2021.
(CommBank) (In the Black)
Demand for accountants in Australia surged in 2021, with 71% of leading firms reporting difficulty finding and 24% difficulty keeping quality staff.
It’s unsurprising, then, that 57% of employers planned to raise salaries by up to 3% in 2021/2022, mostly due to a shortage of candidates.
14. There were over 8,700 accounting vacancies Down Under in early 2022.
The recruitment website SEEK reported that job ads looking for accountancy professionals by March 2022 had jumped 33% year-over-year.
The accounting industry trends in 2022 suggest that the most in-demand were financial accounting and reporting roles, accounts officers and clerks, payroll and business services and corporate advisory positions.
15. 34,976 students enrolled in Ozzie accounting and bookkeeping-related programs in 2020.
(National Industry Insights)
Interest in accounting and bookkeeping-related qualifications declined significantly between 2016 and 2020, as did the number of program completions, dropping to only 9,405 by 2020.
16. In 2020, most accounting trainees enrolled in Certificate IV level programs.
(National Industry Insights)
When it comes to the type of degrees students choose in order to prepare to enter the accounting and bookkeeping industry, statistics show that as many as 25,315 opted for a Certificate IV level program in 2020.
Another 6,810 students went for a diploma or higher while just 2,851 enrolled in a Certificate III level program that year.
According to the Australia higher education statistics, 57% of Aussies employed in the financial and insurance services had the highest rates of bachelor’s degrees and above in 2021.
A bachelor’s degree in accounting pays off. If you are interested in learning how to use it to become a stockbroker in Australia, take a look at this helpful guide.
17. Most Australian accounting and bookkeeping students in 2020 were in NSW (26.7%), Vic (21.5%) and overseas (20.7%).
(National Industry Insights)
Similarly, these two states were also where most qualification training was based, with 40.7% of programs in New South Wales and 26.6% in Victoria, the accounting facts about Australia show.
Accounting Industry Trends
18. The projected annual accounting industry market size growth Down Under in 2022 is 1.2%.
For comparison, the annualised growth of the accounting services market size in Australia between 2017-2022 was 3.4% on average, peaking in 2019.
19. The number of employed accounting clerks and bookkeepers in 2021 was 281,300.
(National Industry Insights)
However, this headcount is anticipated to shrink to 273,200 by 2025, accounting and bookkeeping industry statistics suggest.
By profession, the expected future employment growth is:
- general clerks—13%
- accounting clerks—5%
- auditors, company secretaries and corporate treasurers—3%
20. Systems analysts’ salaries went up 10% year-over-year in 2021.
The accounting industry trends in 2021 in Australia indicate that the fastest growing average salaries upwards of $110,000 are in the following subfields:
- Systems analysis—$118,000
- Business analysis—$116,712 (+8% y-o-y)
- Audit management—$131,443 (+8% y-o-y)
- Reporting management—$148,809 (+7% y-o-y)
- Service management—$128,602 (+7% y-o-y)
Bottom Line: Balancing the Books
So, as we’ve seen from these Australian accounting industry statistics, it’s a great profession to be in Down Under and it offers plenty of opportunities for growth.
Therefore, if you’re good with numbers and want a steady and lucrative career, accounting may be the perfect choice for you.