The annual Australian Bureau of Statistics 2021 census data was recently released, and there are some nuggets of information for Australian accounting firm owners.
Some of the stranger numbers must be attributed to Covid, and the particular states approach to lockdowns. Many city dwellers have moved to regional locations away from the cities, especially those that had tough long lockdowns. And there has been a flight away from some states.
This is shown in the ABS information, with population growth/movement to the regional areas, with regional NSW up by 26,800, regional Queensland 24,100 and regional Victoria 15,700. Add to this the decrease of Sydney by 5,200 and Melbourne by 60,500. An overall decrease of 26,000 of four capital cities is reflected by increases in the other four capital cities of Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Canberra. This is the first overall population decline for the capitals ever recorded by the ABS.
This extraordinary shift has resulted in pressures on housing and housing affordability in regional areas, though this seems to have been an increase in a trend previously noted by a University of Melbourne study.
There are many stories of families impacted by covid and loss of jobs, and their move to regional areas. What is clear is these families moving represent taxpayers moving to regional locations, and in many instances taking their physical or digital businesses with them.
There is the expectation that the ability to physically see a tax agent has reduced not only as a result of COVID, but also due to digitization. At the same time, many tax return payers moving to regional areas is more than likely to have an increased demand for tax compliance work in these regional areas.
Unfortunately, with limited Australian accounting compliance resources in many regional firms, this increased demand for services is likely to result in significant shorter term demand for compliance experienced staff.
If you’d like to chat more about how Odyssey can assist with your ad-hoc short term compliance work please drop us a note.