How To Become an Accountant In Australia: A Complete Guide

Students want to know how they can become accountants in Australia, including how long it takes.


Accounting is one of Australia's rapidly growing occupations. Still, there is much more to accounting than crunching numbers or learning your way around bookkeeping.


You must achieve a specific qualification and experience to be a certified accountant in Australia. You can enter a CA (Chartered Accountant) or CPA (Certified Practising Accountant) Program after completing your accounting studies and gaining relevant experience.


As an accountant, you can provide valuable services to different businesses regarding accounting and financial operations. Additionally, you will assist individuals with taxation, compliance requirements, or financial record keeping.


This blog will teach you how to become an accountant in Australia, how long it takes, qualifications, skills and subjects needed, what they do, courses, salary, and more.



1. What Does an Accountant Do?


Accountants are financial experts who help businesses or individuals with their accounts. They indulge in various tasks, including reporting and reviewing financial records, preparing tax returns, and other relevant paperwork. 


Besides, accountants not only perform regular financial activities, but they also serve as strategic consultants to help businesses become more profitable. As trusted professionals, accountants act per the highest ethical and professional standards.


A fundamental principle is that the accountant should be impartial and not allow others' undue influence, conflicts of interest, and bias to overrule business or professional judgments. 


Additionally, accountants must practise proper diligence and professional competence, advising their clients correctly, even when they have not sought guidance.



2. Major Tasks and Duties of an Accountant


  • Examine the expenditure and income of institutions.

  • Assist with the formulation of accounting and budgetary policies.

  • Be sensitive to language and cultural influences.

  • Maintain internal control systems.

  • Appraise financial risk and cash flow of investment projects.

  • Provide taxation and financial advice about business plans, structures, and operations.

  • Prepare financial statements and present them to management, the board of directors, management, shareholders, and statutory and governing bodies.

  • Prepare taxation returns for organisations and individuals.

  • Introduce and maintain accounting systems.

  • Advise on the application and selection of computer-based accounting systems.

  • Form a liaison with brokers and bankers to establish arrangements for handling funds.

  • Undertake audits, carry out financial investigations, and prepare advice and reports on matters such as the sale and purchase of businesses, insolvency, financing, taxation, and suspected fraud.

  • Assure the accuracy and authenticity of details found in financial reports per statutory requirements.


Note: Generally, accounting is suitable for highly organised people who are good with numbers. Since accountants have to interact and deal with a lot of people, they must be able to communicate clearly and connect with others.



3. What Are The Educational and Training Requirements For an Accountant In Australia?


To qualify for entry into any of the three professional bodies that accredit and regulate the accounting industry in Australia, you require a bachelor's degree in accounting


A bachelor's degree consists of three-year courses available to anyone above 17 years old who finished year 12 with an appropriate UAI (Universities Admission Index). 


Here are a few educational requirements you need to fulfil to become an accountant in Australia:


  • Pursue a bachelor's degree in accounting, which may include a Bachelor of Accounting and Finance or a Bachelor of Accounting.


  • Alternatively, graduate with a Master's degree. You can pursue a Master of Professional Accounting, a two-year degree for students with prior tertiary qualifications.





4. Pathways To Become an Accountant In Australia


To become an accountant in Australia, you must know the profession, familiarise yourself with the industry, and gain more information about what you will be doing in the role. 


If you are not ready yet to pursue a bachelor's degree in accounting, you can take the following paths:



Path 1: Certificate IV in Accounting


The Certificate IV in Accounting will allow you to apply fundamental accounting principles to your role as an accountant. This further helps you prepare financial reports and high-level budgets and monitor ledgers. 


You can also learn how to perform activities related to business activity statements and even learn different other transferable skills like preparing business presentations and documents and maintaining a payroll system.


This qualification will prepare you for the role of Accounting Support Officer or a Bookkeeper and is an excellent first step to becoming an accountant in Australia.



Path 2: Certificate IV in Bookkeeping


The Certificate IV in Bookkeeping qualification provides you with a strong foundation of knowledge in fundamental business financials and financial record keeping. This qualification is best for those looking to start a small business and enter an accounting profession.


Under this qualification, courses primarily focus on preparing interim reports and financial statements, payroll and accounting systems, and ensuring that you use the best practices relevant to bookkeeping methods.



Path 3: Diploma of Accounting


The diploma of accounting courses is way more advanced and comprehensive than the Certificate IV level courses. You will gain higher-level skills, learn how to provide financial or business performance information, manage budgets, and prepare tax documents and financial forecasts.


A Diploma in Accounting is an excellent step towards having a successful accounting career. It will offer you the right qualifications to undertake a supervisory role in the finance sector or become an assistant accountant.



5. Employment Opportunities For Accountants in Australia


You will work in diverse environments as an accountant, including retail outlets, accountancy firms, finance companies, sporting organisations, real estate firms, government organisations, taxation consultancies, banks and building societies, and community service organisations.


Most often, accountants are self-employed or work in partnership with other accountants. Here are a few accounting roles that you can consider:



You can work in-house as a large organisation's CFO (Chief Financial Officer)Working as a CFO will enable you to dig deeper into the organisation's accounts and make everyday decisions that will positively impact the bottom line. 


Furthermore, you can go for compliance and auditor roles, which will allow you to gain a technical understanding of the legislation to ensure that other firms are fully compliant. You need great attention to detail and quick business knowledge to succeed in these roles. 


After you have been in the industry for a while, you can choose an advisory role as an accounting career path in Australia. It will enable you to learn what businesses do and how they expand, further allowing you to provide advice on the same subject.  


You can grab other opportunities, like stockbrokingbanking, management consulting, and more — endless possibilities. All in all, accountancy provides high job security and several employment prospects. 



6. Skills Required To Become an Accountant In Australia


Accountants have a diverse and complex role to play and thus need a broad range of skills to perform their everyday duties. Here are a few skills required to become a successful accountant in Australia:


  • Communication Skills: It is essential to have good communication skills if you want a successful career in accounting. While working as an accountant, you might be required to communicate with third parties, other people in your team, and sometimes government agencies.


  • Critical Analysis and Problem Solving: Accountants need to attain the ability to analyse or evaluate a series of numbers or a situation and come to a valid conclusion. Once you are working as an accountant, you will have a better chance of getting a promotion if you can utilise your accounting skills to solve business issues.


  • Organisational Skills: Having sold organisational skills can be a great benefit throughout your profession as an accountant. In a short time, you would have to generate quick responses to complex requests and deal with competing demands on limited resources. Always staying ahead will ensure you make fewer mistakes in your job and lead a stress-free life.


  • Presentation Skills: If you want to become an accountant, developing your Microsoft Excel Skills is a great start. In most accounting positions, you must use a financial analytics program or database. Learning everything about Microsoft Excel will provide a solid base to understand the different types of interlinking information formulas and data you will encounter working. 


  • Furthermore, you might have to present findings or financial reports to your superiors. Learning or getting familiar with different presentation tools, like Powerpoint, will help you become a successful accountant.


  • Ethics: Accountants cannot deliberately violate the law, even if their employer asks them to do so. Your loyalty as an accountant is not entirely towards the company but to society as well. Hence, you must perform reporting and all the other work ethically. This is the first thing you will learn when you train to become an accountant.


  • Discretion: As an account, you will find yourself bound with plenty of confidential information. For most accountants, practically everything they work on is confidential to a certain extent.


  • Your company will trust you with almost all valuable information, and you must ensure that the data will always remain protected. If you are an individual who shares every little detail about their day-to-day work with others, this might not be the right job for you.


  • Teamwork: In almost every mid to large corporation, accountants work with a team. Therefore, getting along well with your colleagues is crucial without causing significant issues. This will further determine how long you will last in any position.




7. How Long Does It Take To Become an Accountant In Australia?


For most accounting jobs, you need a bachelor's degree, which generally takes around four years to complete. Once you graduate, you can directly apply for entry-level positions, such as tax staff, staff accountant, or junior internal auditor. 


After obtaining a few years of experience in your job, you can focus on getting entry into a CPA Australia Program.


Once you have completed the CPA Program with enough experience within six years, you can advance to senior roles in your specialisation and then move on to managerial positions.



8. How Much Does an Accountant Earn In Australia?


In Australia, an accountant earns an average salary of around AUD 90,000. The average accountant salary in Australia can reach AUD 100,000, and the minimum average accountant salary falls under AUD 80,000. Accountancy may not be the highest-paid job in the industry, but it pays well.


Being a well-paid career choice, most accountants in Australia are never out of work. With a 16% increase in accounting positions from 2015 to 2020, the job market for accountants in Australia is growing way above the average rate.


Now that you know everything about becoming an accountant in Australia, you are ready to explore a career in Accounting. Education is a solid place to start, whether new to the field or keen to discover new opportunities.


Useful Links to Explore:

Please Subscribe to our Newsletter