Institute of Certified Bookkeepers

ICB Survey Results Released

Commentary is based on 780 responses received during November and December 2017.

What a surprise? 87% of our population indicate they are Female and the majority are aged between 40 and 60 with 15+ years experience. 87% are BAS Agents, and 89% will be renewing.

This survey confirms our observation that the significant influx of people into being recognised bookkeepers as a result of the BAS Agent regime (commencing in 2010 and everybody had to be fully qualified and experienced by 2015) has settled.

But: The community of professional Certified Bookkeepers continues to grow. We are increasingly qualified, we stay connected to our preferred software and we are keeping more than the required amounts of Continuing Education.

The development of the “multi-person” bookkeeping practice is happening. More people indicating they have full time employees, more people indicating they have part-time employees, substantially more people indicating they have full time contractors and a growth in part-time contractors. Overall 48% of respondents are working within a multi-person practice compared to 46% previously.

The type of work performed remains consistent. Only a minor tweak to increase the amount of “on-site” bookkeeping work performed by 84% of the community, and off-site also increased by 1% to 95%. Debt Collection work has increased to 36% of the population.

The trend of businesses allowing you to access their information remotely or to be cloud based (whether they understand what that is or not) continues to grow.

Client word of mouth referrals remains the best form of business acquisition.

51% of Bookkeepers help the business “advising the business on which awards apply to employees”.

Only 64% indicate they use an Engagement Letter. A decline on previous surveys, which is not a good sign.

91% of us use the BAS Agent Portal from the ATO. 80% of us blame the client for late information being the reason BAS isn't lodged on time.

In general we are still happy (91% vs 93% last year) with our software, but not as happy with the partner programs (an 8% swing down to “Neutral”). When we asked the feature you are most satisfied with and dissatisfied with for each software company, the responses to our strategic partners differed: MYOB, Reckon, and Xero all received significant positive “Usability” votes, with Intuit QBO receiving a strength vote in “Pricing”. MYOB and Xero both received negative “Price” responses, with Reckon and Intuit QBO suffering on usability.

For each software program you have used over the past 12 months, please select the feature you are most satisfied and dissatisfied with:
graph legend
MYOB graph Xero graph
QBO graph Reckon graph

MYOB remains the dominant software.

Phone support by the software companies is preferred, with Online Webinars followed by Video (recorded) as the preferred training.

Financial Benchmarks

50% have fewer than 20 clients

7 day terms for payment is the overwhelming expectation

Charge rates

  • There is a popular price point for Bookkeeping between $50 to $70 per hour
  • The price point of $100 to $150 for BAS exists but is still overwhelmed by the same rate as for Bookkeeping
  • High end consulting has a more regular (but only 20% of responses) charge of $100 to $150

There has been very little shift within the last 3 years.

The community is swapping from hourly-based fees, but it is still the majority of billing practices (54% down from 61% last year). Noting that 30% indicate they do a combination of Fixed Fee and Hourly.


  • Updated: 23rd February, 2018