Accounting is one of Australia's rapidly-growing occupations, but there is a lot more to accounting than just crunching numbers or learning your way around bookkeeping.
You need to achieve a certain level of qualification and experiences to be a certified accountant in Australia. Once you complete your accounting studies and gain relevant experience, you will be eligible to enter into a CA (Chartered Accountant) or CPA (Certified Practising Accountants) Program.
As an accountant, you will be able to provide valuable services to different businesses regarding accounting and financial operations. Additionally, you will assist individuals with taxation, compliance requirements, or monetary record keeping.
To get more information about how to become an accountant in Australia, read the article below.
1. What Does an Accountant Do?
Accountants are trained financial experts who help businesses or individuals with their accounts. They indulge in a variety of 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 are expected to act in accordance with 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, ensuring that the client is appropriately advised, even when they have not actively 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, statutory and governing bodies.
Prepare taxation returns for organisations and individuals.
Introduce and maintain accounting systems.
Give advice 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.
Provide assurance on the accuracy and authenticity of details found in financial reports, in accordance with statutory requirements.
Note: Generally, accounting is suitable for people who are highly organised and 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?
A bachelor's degree consists of three-year courses available to anyone above 17 years of age who have 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 degree in the field of accounting, which may include a Bachelor of Accounting and Finance or simply a Bachelor of Accounting.
Alternatively, graduate with a Master's degree. You can pursue a Master of Professional Accounting, which is a two-year degree for students who have prior tertiary qualifications.
You can apply to become a member of a recognised accounting institution like CA ANZ (Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand). You can also register to enrol in a CPA (Certified Practising Accountants) program.
4. Steps you Need to Take to Become an Accountant in Australia
To become an accountant in Australia, the very first step you must take is to get to 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 yet prepared to pursue a bachelor’s degree in accounting, you can take the following paths:
FNS40615 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, 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.
All in all, this qualification will prepare you for the role of Accounting Support Officer or a Bookkeeper and is an excellent first step to become an accountant in Australia.
FNS40215 Certificate IV in Bookkeeping
The Certificate IV in Bookkeeping qualification is mainly designed to provide you with a strong foundation of knowledge in basic business financials and financial record keeping. This qualification is best for those looking to start up their own 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.
FNS50215 Diploma of Accounting
The diploma accounting courses are way more advanced and comprehensive than the Certificate IV level courses. Through such courses, you will gain higher-level skills, learn how to provide information related to financial or business performance, manage budgets, prepare tax documents, and financial forecasts.
Diploma of Accounting is an excellent step towards having a successful accounting career. It will offer you the right qualifications needed to undertake a supervisory role in the finance sector or become an assistant accountant.
5. Employment Opportunities for Accountants in Australia
As an accountant, you will get to work in diverse environments, 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 they work in partnership with other accountants. Here are a few accounting roles that you can consider:
Chief Financial Officer
Business Development Manager
You can even work in-house as a CFO (Chief Financial Officer) for a large organisation. 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 make certain that other firms are fully compliant. To be successful in these roles, you need great attention to detail and be able to understand the business quickly.
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.
There are other opportunities that you can grab like stockbroking, banking, management consulting, and more — the possibilities are simply endless. 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:
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 the society as well. Hence, you must perform reporting and all the other work ethically. This is probably the first thing you will learn when you train to become an accountant.
Discretion: As an account, you will find yourself bound up with plenty of confidential information. For most accountants, practically everything they work on a regular basis is confidential to a certain extent.
7. How Long Does it Take to Become an Accountant in Australia?
For most accounting jobs, you need to have a bachelor’s degree, which generally takes around four years to complete. Once you are a graduate, you can directly apply for entry-level positions, such as tax staff, staff accountant, or junior internal auditor.
Once you have completed the CPA Program and gained enough experience within six years, you can advance to senior roles in your field of specialization, 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 maximum average accountant salary in Australia can reach up to AUD 100,000, and the minimum average accountant salary falls under AUD 80,000. Accountancy may not be ranked as the highest-paid job in the industry, but it surely 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. Whether you are new to the field or keen to discover new opportunities, getting an education is a strong place to start.
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