Accounting Services Price Index (ASPI)

Detailed information for 2011





Record number:


The Accounting Services Price Index (ASPI) collects information on the price of several accounting services such as auditing, taxation, and bookkeeping. From this data, price indexes are constructed measuring changes in these prices over time.

Data release - December 10, 2012


The Accounting Services Price Index (ASPI) collects information on the price of several accounting services such as auditing, taxation, and bookkeeping. From this data, price indexes are constructed measuring changes in these prices over time.

The ASPI series is a useful indicator of economic activity in the accounting services industry, and can also prove helpful as a supplementary tool for performance evaluation, cost monitoring, contract assessment and benchmark comparisons. In addition, the indexes are used by the Canadian System of National Accounts to arrive at estimates of real value-added for the industry and to measure changes in productivity.

Statistical activity

These indexes are a part of the Services Producer Price Index program (SPPI) at Statistics Canada.

The SPPI program develops and produces price indexes for a number of business service categories. This initiative fills an important data gap in the area of economic statistics, has resulted in a more comprehensive set of service price indexes, and allows Statistics Canada to produce more accurate estimates of real value added GDP and changes in productivity.

Reference period: The time period for which the ASPI equals 100; currently this is the year 2010.


  • Business, consumer and property services
  • Prices and price indexes
  • Professional, scientific and technical services
  • Service price indexes

Data sources and methodology

Target population

For the ASPI, the target population consists of all establishments engaged in accounting services with an annual revenue equal to or exceeding $50,000, as identified on Statistics Canada's Business Register.

Under the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), this industry consists of establishments primarily engaged in:

- NAICS 541212: accounting services or offices of accountants;

- NAICS 541213: tax preparation services;

- NAICS 541215: bookkeeping, payroll and related services.

The target population consists of all establishments classified on Statistics Canada's Business Register to the NAICS industry 5412 - Accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping and payroll services. There are three (3) industries classified under NAICS 5412 and from which the ASPI will collect data; these are:

- 541212 - Accounting services or offices of accountants
- 541213 - Tax preparation services
- 541215 - Bookkeeping, payroll and related services

The target population differs from the survey population in that businesses with an annual revenue less than $50,000, as identified on Statistics Canada's Business Register, are excluded from the survey population. This is done to reduce response burden on smaller firms.

Instrument design

The questionnaire used for the ASPI was developed and tested in consultation with several accounting firms and the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA) of Quebec.

The questionnaire asks respondents to provide the price charged to a particular client (net of indirect taxes) for a specific accounting contract provided during both of two consecutive years (so that a year-over-year price comparison can be made). Because a price index attempts to measure the year-over-year percentage change in prices of constant-quality products, the questionnaire asks the respondent to exclude from the year-over-year price change any value that is attributable to a change in the characteristics of the service offered between the two consecutive years.


This is a sample survey with a cross-sectional design and a longitudinal follow-up.

The sample size is 650 enterprises. The current sample was drawn from a frame of all enterprises classified to the NAICS Industry 5412 - Accounting, Tax Preparation, Bookkeeping and Payroll Services - as of May 2010. The probability of an enterprise being selected into the sample is proportional to its revenue.

Data sources

Responding to this survey is mandatory.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents.

During the collection process, interviewers contact the respondents by phone to indicate that a questionnaire will be mailed. Subsequent contacts with the respondent take place when questionnaires are late or the responses provided require clarification. In the case of late respondents, several follow-up contacts can be made including sending out a reminder letter in order to obtain their response.

The weights are established on the basis of information obtained from Statistics Canada Business Register Division.

View the Questionnaire(s) and reporting guide(s) .

Error detection

A set of systematized error detection procedures are in place to identify outliers and possible reporting errors. For example, a larger than average increase or decrease in the price of a contract will trigger a follow up with the respondent.


Non-response is dealt with in the ASPI by adjusting the sampling weights of the responding units to account for the fact that they now collectively represent more revenue in the population than they would have if all sampled units had responded.



The prices collected for the ASPI represent the prices charged by survey respondents to their clients for engagements or contracts whose characteristics remain similar over time. The respondents choose the contracts on the basis that they are representative and likely to be renewed from year to year. The respondent is asked to report any estimated change in the quality or terms of service pertaining to a contract.


The estimates are a weighted average of the year-over-year proportional price changes reported by the respective establishment. The weights used are a combination of those found on Statistics Canada's Business Register and the breakdown of the establishments' revenue according to the different classes of service, as asked on the questionnaire.

Disclosure control

Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any information it collects which could identify any person, business, or organization, unless consent has been given by the respondent or as permitted by the Statistics Act. Various confidentiality rules are applied to all data that are released or published to prevent the publication or disclosure of any information deemed confidential. If necessary, data are suppressed to prevent direct or residual disclosure of identifiable data.

Collected data are converted to price indexes and data are released as such, so that it is not possible to identify the suppliers of raw prices.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

The most recent two years of published indexes are subject to revision.

Data accuracy

The statistical accuracy of this index depends on price and weight data. Price data are obtained from a sample survey and the weight information is obtained from Statistics Canada's Central Frame Database. Both kinds of input data are subject therefore to their own errors.

The quality of the price data rests on the response rate and degree of imputation. The response rate is about 45% and degree of imputation is minimal (i.e. less than 5%).

Though the ASPI uses a sample survey methodology to obtain the necessary information, confidence intervals are not currently estimated, due to the longitudinal nature of price index series. Indexes for higher and lower levels of aggregation are considered to be statistically reliable.

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