Latest Regular Update From The Aust Bureau Of Statistics Special Guest John Shepherd, Industry Statistics Division & Bjorn Jarvis Labour Statistics

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Small Biz Matters – #197 Providing the small business community with educational content and advocacy since 2014 with Alexi Boyd, broadcaster, advocate and small business owner. Date: 23 February 2021

Time to get excited about statistics. No, really!

As small business owners we are often reminded to learn who our ideal client is and research this with gusto until we have a perfect image in our minds as to who they are and what makes them tick. We normally gather this info from anecdotal experiences and conversations with other business owners or mentors.

But what if all this ideal info like location, B2B details, demographic, political persuasion, customs and habits, and social media use was already easily and freely available.

Well, guess what… it is!

There’s a government department full of real boffins who are passionate about sharing this wealth of knowledge and when it comes to collecting, analysing and delivering this sort of data they’ve made it accessible and useful to small business - and now have a brand new website too!

Its all there for the taking and today we welcome back John Shepherd the General Manager, Industry Statistics Division & Bjorn Jarvis Head Labour Statistics to explain how and why we should tap into this goldmine of data.

Topics we’ll be covering:

Why should small businesses be across these statistics and how to access specifically the labour force data?

  • How can being aware of labour force data influence your growth decisions as a small business?
  • How can a business navigate their way through the website and what are the most useful sections, in your opinion?
  • Where does the ABS get this data from & how robust & accurate is it?
    • Building on success on ATO’s STP and exploring ways a business can report survey data through their software
    • It’s now real-time rather than based on tax returns which can be months out of date

Sharing the latest ABS updates for small business & new website

  • COVID business survey
  • Patterns and trends
  • Latest retail trade survey
  • Business conditions updates

Why check out the new website?

  • Easy to digest info
  • Start with business snapshot then go and explore the main page
  • Jobs and wages info (from 700,000 businesses) then breaking down by sectors > how can businesses use the data

To find out more go to their website: www.abs.gov.au

About our Guest:

John Shepherd is the General Manager leading the Industry Statistics Division. The Industry Statistics Division is responsible for developing, compiling, analysing and disseminating statistical information across a range of sectors including Agriculture, Environment, Building and Construction, Transport, Tourism, Financial Institutions, Innovation and Technology. The Division also produces Main Economic Indicators including Private New Capital Expenditure, Retail Trade, Business Indicators, Building Approvals, Job Vacancies, New Motor Vehicle Sales and Housing and Lending Finance. The Division includes the Statistical Infrastructure and International Branch, encompassing the International Relations & Regional Statistical Development section, the Business Register Unit and the Statistical Standards and Infrastructure section. The Division is focussed on working with its partners to provide a strong information base for policy development and evaluation. John joined the ABS in June 2019 after a lengthy career at the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

At the ATO, John held a number of senior roles in his 28 years, including leading significant change programs and projects focused on improving the client experience. John’s most recent role was leading the implementation of the Single Touch Payroll (STP) initiative, enabling employers to report their tax and superannuation information for their employees at the same time as they paid staff. STP aims to streamline business reporting to government and support better tax and super experiences for all employees. John also played an active role in superannuation reform, including leading the implementation of SuperStream and a number of other superannuation reform initiatives including online superannuation account consolidation.

John is a passionate Movember ambassador and fundraiser for men’s health initiatives.

John holds a Masters of Taxation from the University of NSW and is based in Canberra.

Bjorn Jarvis is the head of labour statistics at the ABS. His team produces the wide range of information on the labour market, based on data provided by businesses and people. He has a passion for how statistics can help businesses, governments, communities and individuals inform their important decisions, and also loves a good graph.

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