Small Biz Matters

The latest regular update from the Aust Bureau of Statistics With special guest John Shepherd, General Manager, Industry Statistics Division at ABS

October 27, 2020

Small Biz Matters – #183 Providing the small business community with educational content and advocacy since 2014
with Alexi Boyd, broadcaster, advocate and small business owner.
Date: 27 October 2020

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 at ABS to explain how and why we should tap into this goldmine of data.

Topics we’ll be covering:

Sharing the latest ABS updates for small business

  • COVID business survey)
  • Patterns and trends
  • Jobs and wages info (from 700,000 businesses) which can be broken down by sectors
  • 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

Upcoming developments in the pipeline to help small business

  • Building on success on STP and exploring ways a business can report survey data through their software
  • Making sure the data is safe, aggregated and ready to use
  • Email address to be involved for beta testing to help make this useful

To find out more go to their website:

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.

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