Accounting is one of the most highly regarded careers in the business world today. Why? Because it’s not just money, but numbers that make the world go round! Recent economic challenges have meant that now, more than ever, accountants are important for businesses to meet the needs of dynamic business environments. Even in an economic downturn there is a demand for proven, young accounting professionals in Australia because of the breadth of knowledge they can bring to an organisation. This trend is set to continue.

The work

Accounting and finance professionals work to ensure that companies or organisations are financially efficient and profitable. Accountants are valued for their commercial know-how, analytical thinking and leadership abilities – they’re often considered to be the interpreters in the language of business today.

Accountants interpret financial information to make informed decisions about an organisation’s prosperity and direction. The depth of experience and training required to be an accountant makes it an ideal stepping stone to senior management roles. It’s therefore not surprising that many heads of business start off with an accounting qualification, gaining an essential understanding of how businesses operate.

An accounting role can involve the measurement, interpretation and communication of financial activity. This could mean working in strategic planning or market analysis, as an accountant or auditor or in specialised areas, such as financial planning or forensic accounting.

Moreover, accountants can work everywhere! Every company and organisation requires some form of accountant, whether it’s a major conglomerate or a small or medium-sized enterprise.

Accountants can be found in fashion houses, technology companies, government organisations and charities, as well as working for major clients in a Big 4 professional firm (KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte or Ernst & Young) or a public practice firm.

Accounting is a job for life because, once qualified, there is a world of opportunity. The growth potential within a role extends all the way to the top of an organisation and the work can be as varied as you want to make it.

What you need

  • Postgraduate accounting qualification and work experience – the two key professional accounting designations in Australia are Chartered Accountant (CA) and Certified Practicing Accountant (CPA)
  • Both accounting bodies provide useful information about how to become qualified, the work opportunities available and how to get started.

Graduate salary ranges for selected relevant occupations are as follows:

  • Accountant: $39,300–$52,000
  • Accounting clerk: $36,000–$45,000
  • Internal auditor: $41,000–$48,900

(Figures taken from the Australian Graduate Survey 2008, GCA. Ranges refer to the middle 50 per cent of salaries for bachelor degree graduates with permanent residency in full-time employment in Australia between October 2007 and April 2008.)

“There is always a different situation or different client that keeps me challenged. One day I could be working on a job for a mining company, the next for a nursing home. The wide range of scenarios inherent in a career as a Chartered Accountant ensures I am never bored.”
– Lieu Le CA, Forensic Accountant, Ferrier Hodgson

(This profile also appears in GCA’s annual Graduate Opportunities directory. GCA would like to thank the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia for assistance with this profile.)

Further Resources

Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia
Institute of Public Accountants (IPA)
CPA Australia


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