Accountants are a vital component of any organisation. In business, charities and government, accountants are indispensable for auditing, bookkeeping and financial management.

Accountants are trusted with the valuable responsibility to review and analyse financial information for various purposes, and give advice on business circumstances and strategies.

Accountants are good with numbers—they're able to calculate and interpret large amounts of numbers and figures. Accountants engage in a wide variety of activities for clients or companies, which may include preparing financial statements and maintaining business transactions, quality management, using information systems to track financial performance and tax strategy, and they may partake in plans for mergers and acquisitions.

Thanks to accounting software, accountants spend less of their time computing numbers and bookkeeping and spend more of their time analysing the financial details of expenses and returns, working in teams with other accountants and financial officers, and problem solving an organisations financial conditions. Accountants are increasingly expected to communicate in clear and effective ways with clients to help them understand what's happening with their business or organisation financially.

Because every company or organisation needs accountants, whether public or private, large or small, for or not-for-profit, individuals pursuing accounting have the choice of working in a wide range of industries and companies. Accounting is a stable career where you can expect to work a standard Monday to Friday work week in an office setting, working late hours during audit times and busy periods. Accountants learn how businesses work and develop an understanding of the factors that drive businesses and profits, giving them an advantageous position to work into management positions.

Many accountants begin their careers with internships while in uni. Public accounting firms hire many recent grads, which allow them the opportunity to gain critical experience in the field. Or, they may choose to work within the accounting department of specific companies and organisations, as well as private accounting firms. Many accountants may choose to start out in public accounting firms and move on to private practices or government positions once they have more experience. With a career in accounting, there are many viable options.

Related degrees

Related subjects

Professional associations and industry bodies

Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) Australia

Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) 

Association of Taxation & Management Accountants 

CPA Australia

Chartered Institute of Management Accountants

Institute of Internal Auditors

Institute of Public Accountants 

Tax Practitioners Board

Taxation Institute of Australia

The Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia

Skills and personality

  • Ability to work for long periods of time in an office environment computing and analysing financial information
  • Able to interpret financial information including business expenses and returns and advise clients/ businesses on causes, effects and recommendations for financial situation
  • Adherence to accounting procedures and regulations
  • Advance knowledge of accounting computer software
  • High organisational skills
  • Highly analytical to understand business structure and figures
  • Problem solving capabilities
  • Strong communication skills to work well with clients and present material in a clear and cohesive manner
  • Strong mathematical capabilities
  • Thorough attention to detail and numbers