Accountants prepare and inspect financial records, ensure they are accurate, and provide advice on financial compliance and record keeping.
What does an Accountant do?
Accountants prepare and inspect financial records. Accountants assess the financial dealings and operations of individuals and/or organisations and provide advice on associated compliance and record keeping. They ensure that financial records are correct and that taxes are correctly paid on time.
As an accountant, you might:
- assist with the formulation of budgetary and accounting policies
- prepare financial statements
- conduct financial investigations
- examine income and expenditure
- provide assurance about the accuracy of information contained in financial reports and their compliance with statutory requirements.
Key skills and interests
To become an accountant, you would need:
- the ability to interpret figures and information
- excellent maths and IT skills
- strong analytical and problem-solving ability
- a high degree of accuracy and attention to detail
- good spoken and written communication skills
- good organisational and time management skills
Working hours and conditions
You would generally work normal office hours, Monday to Friday, with occasional overtime to meet deadlines at busy times. Part-time work may be possible.
Accountants in private practice may work on their own, or in a small office environment. Accountants may also work in large accounting firms, and with large teams of people. Accountants in private practice have a high level of public contact.
How to become an Accountant?
Entry Level Education
You would become an accountant by completing a diploma or degree in accounting, or a related field such as business or commerce with a major in accounting. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your senior secondary school certificate or equivalent. English and mathematics would be appropriate subjects to study prior to university.
Graduates may qualify for the membership programs offered by Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, CPA Australia or the Institute of Public Accountants if they have endorsed degrees. Further study or a certain number of years of work experience may be required to be eligible.
Employment of accountants is expected to continue to grow steadily.
There has been an increased focus on accounting and financial compliance in response to stricter laws and regulations, particularly in the financial sector. The continued globalisation of business should lead to increased demand for accounting expertise and services in areas such as international trade and international mergers and acquisitions.