2021 Census: Accounting Industry

What did the 2021 Census reveal about the accounting industry?
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Published on
December 4, 2022

The 2021 Census data released on Wednesday 12th of October revealed new information on the work habits of Australians during the pandemic, as well as residual trends that have remained unaffected.

So, what does the Census reveal about accountants and the accounting industry? Here are our top 4 takeaways.

1. Accountants are getting older

The average age of accountants has risen since 2016 from 37 years old to 40 years old.  What does this mean? It appears that accountants 35+ are staying within the accounting profession for longer despite the rise of ‘The Great Resignation’. This isn’t to say that accountants over 35 are remaining within specific roles or organisations, but rather choosing to remain within the accounting industry.

Age distribution of Accountants. Graph prepared by The Red Fox Group data team.

2. (it might not feel like it) but on average Accountants are working less

Despite how some of us may feel, Australians across different industries are working less than before – including accountants.

This is a trend that has continued since 2016, and likely encompasses workers choosing part-time work options for child rearing or caring responsibilities.

Proportion of hours worked per week. Graph prepared by The Red Fox Group data team.

3. 20–29-year old’s account for the highest percentage of accountants working over 35 hours a week

And before you complain about young people these days, know that our 20–29-year-old Australians are working the most hours in the accounting profession according to the 2021 Census results.  

4. Australian accountants are up-skilling in greater numbers

Overall, there has been a 20% increase in Australia of people with a vocational or tertiary qualification since 2016, the ABS has found.  

As for accountants, in 2021 there were 135,373 Accountants with a Bachelor, Graduate Diploma or Postgraduate Degree (85% of accountants).  

New South Wales contains the highest population of Accountants with a bachelor’s degree, followed by Victoria, then Queensland.

We know that it is an employee’s market. Currently, around 44% of accounting organisations are looking for staff. New graduates are more highly trained than ever and with the vast number of opportunities available, firms will be under added pressure to attract new talent. Firms must stand out to stay relevant and appeal in an increasingly competitive pool.  

Proportion of Accountants holding a bachelor degree or higher (2016 vs 2021). Graph prepared by The Red Fox Group data team.


We understand that the accounting industry is poised to become increasingly competitive with growing demands to adapt to changing economic and technological changes.  

And the accounting industry is growing despite the pandemic disruption. Businesses are pursuing new growth opportunities and there is high demand for accountants and accounting firms.

But there are several headwinds in place for the industry. Namely:

  • The search for talent is not getting easier. It’s increasingly hard to find talented employees as well as retain them long-term 
  • The pace of advancing technology is unprecedented with many firms struggling to innovate and keep pace  

Newly released IBIS data signals a projected boom is underway for the accounting industry. But the gap is already widening between organisations embracing new technologies, and organisations more reluctant to change.  As the industry changes, as shown in the 2021 Census data, greater challenges present themselves and accounting firms are under greater pressure to adapt.  Finding talent, retaining employees (especially young professionals) and keeping up with the pace of technology and digital transformation are just some of the things that organisations face in the wake of an industry boom.  As a result of this boom, it is imperative to keep employees engaged whilst also attracting prospective employees.

How technology can engage your best talent

According to research conducted by McKinsey in 2021 on employee engagement – one of the key proven tools that companies can leverage is their technology. The right technology can reduce workload and burnout, automate manual tasks and increase meaningful engagement between teams. Additionally, as working from home becomes the new normal, hybrid workplaces for employees are becoming increasingly sought after, not only enabling a better work-life balance for employees (both older and younger), but also enabling employers access to a wider pool of candidates across different cities, states, and even countries.  

Cloud-based technology that SwiftFox CRM provides is essential for remote working like this, allowing employees to collaborate and access work wherever they might be; an integral offer for engaging new talent.  

But the beauty of our CRM is that it allows you to automate and streamline cumbersome tasks such as creating client databases, tracking projects, assigning tasks to team members and yourself. Gone are the days where you must ask the younger ‘tech expert’ in your team what to do, CRM can do it for you.

For more information on anything CENSUS or CRM go to

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