May 2024

The Australian Accounting Landscape Amidst Declining Graduates

By: Odyssey General, Outsourcing
Tags: labour shortage, offshore, Outsourcing

The Australian accounting shortage is likely to continue due to a number of contributing factors:

  • Higher numbers of accounting services businesses
  • A halving of accounting graduates
  • Accounting profession has declining appearl
  • Graduates struggling with workloads, and needing more mentoring and assistance

Below we cover these issues.

Accountant shortage, knowledge gap a ‘grave concern’ for leaders

Currently, there are 37,428 accounting services businesses in Australia. This figure is expected to grow by 2 per cent year on year. Concerningly, the number of accounting graduates has halved, resulting in a shortage of almost 10,000 annually.

The decline in the number of finance graduates coupled with the looming retirement of experienced staff with critical institutional knowledge creates a gap that needs to be addressed by developing new, modern skills and harnessing emerging technologies to advance the modern finance function,”

New technologies – especially AI – are modernising the finance function to alleviate some of this pressure.

Learn more: Accountant shortage, knowledge gap a ‘grave concern’ for leaders

Accounting profession has declining appeal

At the same time, the accounting profession has declining appeal.  Accounting, audit and finance professionals in Australia are currently in shortage and, in the absence of change, shortages will persist and grow into the future, with CPA Australia noting the number of students completing University-level accounting had almost halved in the decade to 2020 to just 2,278 a year. 

Learn more: The year the accountant shortage got worse

Recent survey shows new graduates require more mentoring and struggle with workload

53% of 800 employers surveyed said recent university graduates struggle with eye contact, 50% ask for unreasonable compensation, 47% don’t dress appropriately for interviews, and 21% refuse to turn their cameras on for virtual interviews.

And 63% of employers say recent college graduates frequently can’t handle their workload. 61% are frequently late to work, 59% often miss deadlines and assignments, and 53% are frequently late to meetings.

Learn more: Nearly 4 in 10 employers avoid hiring recent college grads in flavor of older workers


There is going to be ongoing competition for scarce accounting resources in Australia. At the same time, offshore accounting outsourcing firms are going to continue to be in high demand.

We can see some offset from AI and other technologies, though with the massive shortage of Australian accountants, it is difficult to see these having an impact before 3-5 years.

If you are seeking accounting outsourcing advice, then drop Odyssey a line to chat. And don’t hesitate to consult us for any of your concerns.

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