First and foremost, to become an accountant or an auditor in Australia you will need a Bachelor Degree or a Master in Accounting.
These are generally three-year courses, open to anyone over 17 years who has completed year 12 with an appropriate Universities Admission Index.
In the accounting and auditing worlds exist specialities such as management accounting (centering on budget forecasting and cost reports and statistics), financial accounting (focused on producing financial statements based on market trend and companies results) or tax accounting (centered on advising companies on how to complete their tax form and if they can claim taxes back at some point).
You don't really need a specific degree to become an accountant, but a good analytical mind and a love for numbers will definitely go a long way as you will probably spend a fair amount of time reading accounting reports.
Maybe you want to be an accountant or finance manager and even further down your future a Chief Financial Officer of a listed company. The road may have a step or two but it is not impossible.
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Things to Think About If You Want to Become An Accountant
If you love maths, have good organisational skills and love to solve problems this career is probably for you.
With technologies like software getting more and more advanced, the majority of people believe that accounting will be a job of the past before long.
How wrong they are! In Australia, it seems that getting an accounting qualification has never been easier, with unemployment rates for the industry being lower than the national average.
Even if the software has taken over an enormous piece of an accountant's or an auditor's work, jobs have also evolved to be more based on consultancy than a simple bookkeeping profession.
With an average Australian salary ranging from $65,000 to $75,000 a year, you can expect to earn a good wage right from the get-go.
You can also work in any industry you want.
Accountants and auditors are all-rounders and your accountancy skills will be needed by most if not all companies in the world.
Calculate your numbers right and soon you could be employed by one of the Big Four: Ernst & Young, Deloitte & Touche, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
Together, those four accounting firms audit most of the 350 biggest Australian companies and employ more than one million people around the world.
Great salaries, recognised and highly sought after skills and the chance to work all around the world is what an accountant or auditing career could have to offer.
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A Bachelor Degree or a Master in the field of accounting is required to be eligible for entry into any of the three professional accounting bodies that regulate and accredit the accounting industry in Australia.
These are generally three-year courses, open to anyone over 17 years who have completed year 12 with an appropriate Universities Admission Index.
This could be a Bachelor of Accounting or a Bachelor of Accounting and Finance.
Alternatively, you can complete a postgraduate course such as a Master in Professional Accounting.
This is a two-year course for students who have previously attained a degree in any given field.
After, you can apply for entry into any of the three professional accounting bodies that regulate and accredit the accounting industry in Australia.
CPA Australia is one of the world's largest accounting bodies with a global membership of 166,166 members (as of 31 December 2019) in more than 100 countries around the world.
Their core services to members include education, training, technical support and advocacy.
Employees and members work together with local and international bodies to represent the views and concerns of the profession to governments, regulators, industries, academia and the general public.
They offer continued training to accountants who are already qualified, meaning they have a relevant university degree.
The training includes expert courses and online learning designed to increase the knowledge of accounting and finance professionals in key learning areas.
Grow your skillset through their live and recorded webinars, and online courses and enhance your practical and soft skills.
The Institute of Public Accountants (IPA)
IPA offers several education pathways should you have your degree and become a member of them.
Let's take a look at a few.
The IPA Program now consists of two awards: a Graduate Certificate of Public Accounting (GCPA) “The Professional Sequence” and the Deakin University Master of Business Administration (MBA).
The GCPA comprises of 4 units: a core and compulsory ethics unit and 3 electives.
The 3 electives will partially or fully meet the educational requirements for your statutory registration (e.g., tax practitioner or financial planner, with plans to move to RCA compliance offering).
There is also a general electives stream.
The MBA is of six units (subject to recognition of prior learning) and is largely unchanged with its focus on personal, practice and professional development which will expose all members to techniques that promote smarter working, business growth and techniques for change management.
As two of Australia's three accounting bodies, you'll be in safe hands at either IPA or CPA if you pursue further studies after your degree.
With this, you should not have any problems finding work as part of the courses are centred on building connections and employment in their internal membership group!
The AAT or Association of Accounting Technicians
The Association of Accounting Technicians was created following the merger of the Institute of Accounting Staff and the Association of Technicians in Finance and Accounting in 1989.
Today it counts more than 140,000 members worldwide, and it provides the minimum qualification for anyone wanting to start their accounting career.
The AAT is also a member of the International Federation of Accountants, giving its provided certification recognition everywhere on the planet.
Diploma of Payroll Services
AAT and Monarch Institute have teamed together in a strategic partnership to present outstanding training opportunities to bookkeeping professionals on their career journey.
The Diploma of Payroll Services is a recent addition to the Financial Services Training Package.
This new diploma-level qualification has been developed in consultation with the industry, tailored specifically to the needs of accounting technicians working in payroll departments.
In addition to technical skills, the qualification includes a variety of legal, customer service and interpersonal skills units of competencies that’ll help round out your capabilities as a payroll professional.
Certificate IV in Accounting and Bookkeeping
In partnership with Monarch Institute, Monarch Institute studies will leave you with more than just a piece of paper.
As a graduate, you’ll join a great network of thousands of alumni who have secured their dream job or advanced their career with a Monarch Institute qualification.
The course contains 13 nationally recognised units in four smart ‘n simple modules.
The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants
The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants has been training accountants since 1904, but it only obtained its royal charter in 1974.
It has more than 208,000 members across the world and is currently training more than 500,000 students in 179 countries (out of 195 countries in the world).
ACCA has partnered up with major universities in Australia to provide you with face to face study options.
Under the Academic Professional Partnership Programme, students who have a Bachelor degree (does not have to be in accounting) will have the choice of studying for the Professional level papers through one of the approved Master's degrees at our partner universities.
The ACCA's Ethics and Professional Skills module is the first set of exams usually taken by ACCA students. It covers the complete range of the basics accounting skill needed by employers.
After that students will have to take Applied Knowledge exams (including Accountant in Business, Management Accounting, Financial Accounting), followed by a set of Applied Skills exams (which includes Corporate and Business Law, Performance Management, Taxation, Financial Reporting, Audit and Assurance and Financial Management).
Finally, to complete your training you will have to take some Strategic Professional exams (Business Leader and Business Reporting) and you can also choose to take some optional specialities.
Make sure to check the ACCA's exemption pages if you hold a university degree you may be able to skip some exams.
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Work Hard, Receive Rewards
The educational journey for chartered accountants or auditors can be long and daunting. Almost certainly you will have to manage working a 9 to 5 job and studying at the same time. However, the reward of getting the qualifications is well worth the effort.
Following a qualification, a chartered accountant in Australia can expect to earn around $65,000. Once a chartered accountant has five or more years of experience, the average salary takes a step up to $75,000, and most of the chartered accountants and auditors will also receive a yearly bonus (up to $15,000).
Besides the excellent pay, this certification is also a guarantee of finding a job in pretty much any industry you wish to join.
Searching for an Accounting Tutor
If you need help at school, or if you're not fulfilling your requirements in your current position, you can find help to study for any of these qualifications.
Our tutoring platform has over 30000 accounting tutors registered and based all around the world.
You can narrow the search on the Superprof platform to find a tutor in your home state.
Tutor's can help you build a study program tailored to your needs and requirements, their experience will be valuable in your progress to become an accountant or auditor.
They can help you pass any of the school exams you wish to take and some of them have success rates in accountancy exams as high as 98%.
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