What does an accountant do?

Dealing with the personal income of an individual or the income and expenses of a business, accountants are most often involved in preparing and lodging tax returns or business activity statements. Depending on the needs of their specific clients and the kind of accountancy they specialise in, accountants will perform a number of daily tasks such as bookkeeping, income and expense balance sheets, monitoring employee payroll, creating financial reports, preparing tax returns and organising financial documents. Accountants use their skills to ensure that all financial and tax matters are kept in compliance with government guidelines.

Tasks:

  • Prepare and file tax returns
  • Maintain thorough financial records
  • Generate pay slips and process payroll
  • Provide periodic financial reports

What skills do I need to be an accountant?

Accountants must have a superb attention to detail, meticulously keeping record of all financial  documents and ensuring they are organised for easy access. Individuals and businesses rely on the financial prowess of accountants to ensure their interests are being served and their liability minimised. For this reason, accountants must have a thorough understanding of their financial needs of their clients and be able to advise them accordingly. Accountants also need to ensure an up-to-date knowledge of legislative and regulatory reforms, ensuring their records are compliant with state and federal law and the requirements of the Australian Taxation Office.
 

Skills/attributes
  • Meticulous record keeping
  • Superb attention to detail
  • Adept with computers and programs
  • Committed to professional development

Specialisations

You can refine your skills as an accountant and branch off into a number of exciting possible career paths. Tailor your skills to a specialisation that suits your needs and interests as an accounting expert. 

Auditor

Auditors are responsible for checking all income and expenditure reports, ensuring the legitimacy of all official financial documents. Auditors provide a service that prevents companies and individuals from documenting misleading information on their financial records.

Tax Agent

Tax agents provide businesses and individuals with assistance in relation to their tax needs. Tax agents prepare and file statements and documentation that eventually will provide businesses and individuals with their correct tax return. Tax agents have a thorough understanding of taxation law and procedures and operate within the ATO’s regulatory guidelines. 

Bursar

Bursars deal specifically with educational organisations, providing financial assistance tailored to the specific needs of these organisations. Bursars assist in the documenting and preparation of financial documents and have a thorough understanding of the regulatory guidelines that educational institutions operate within.

Study pathways for accountants

Depending on your specialisation, there are a number of courses available to someone interested in a career in accounting. With further education and on the job experience there are a number of career options available. 

Getting Started

Search for courses that will get you started on a rewarding career in accountancy

Skill Building

Focus your study on an area of accountancy that interests you

Professional Development

Learn industry relevant skills and knowledge with recognised qualifications

Industry Recognition

Once you have completed your studies, applying for membership with the Chartered Accountants of Australia and New Zealand or the Institute of Public Accountants will improve your industry standing.

Getting a job after graduation

Put your training to good use and get the best professional head start in your accounting career. Emphasise your personal strengths and achievements in your resume and target your cover letter to the job description listed.

Job Prospects and Salaries

Accountants have professional expertise that is constantly in demand. There is strong growth forecasted for employment opportunities in the next five years.