How to become an accountant

Add up the finances, issue financial advice, and provide financial information and records for individuals and organisations.

Pathways to this career

  1. Study an accounting degree in a related field. Most employers look for an undergraduate course in accounting when short-listing suitable candidates.
  2. Already studied an undergraduate degree? Further your career with a postgraduate course in accounting and stand out from the crowd.
  3. Participate in a Certified Practising Accountants program (CPA) and develop your skill set.
  4. Join recognised institutions like the Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CANZ) and stay up-to-date with changes in the industry.

What does an accountant do?

An accountant is in charge of producing and providing financial information and records for individuals and companies. An accountant needs to have strong mathematical and analytical skills and technical accounting knowledge.

There are many different types of accountants and the tasks they perform predominately depend on the size of the business. Examples of daily accounting duties include: financial reporting, reconciling, maintaining financial records, forensic accounting, taxation and auditing.

Duties and tasks

  • Analyse the potential risk of investments.
  • Develop weekly, monthly and yearly financial/management reports, including P&L Statements, Balance Sheet Statements and Cash Flow Statements.
  • Ensure all accounting activities comply with statuary laws and requirements.
  • Investigate and reconcile financial discrepancies.
  • Prepare and analyse budgets.
  • Prepare and analyse financial statements and reports.
  • Provide advice on all aspects of business operations, business plans, taxation etc.
  • Work with internal and external auditors.

Industry bodies

CPA Australia

CPA Australia is one of the worlds largest accounting bodies with a membership of more than 139,000 finance, accounting and business professionals across the globe.

The Institute of Public Accountants

The Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) is a professional organisation for accountants recognised for their practical, hands-on skills and a broad understanding of the total business environment.

The Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia

The Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia is the professional body representing Chartered Accountants in Australia.

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