There’s far more to accounting than crunching numbers. In-depth analysis, decision making, strategy, and a strong understanding of business and the economy are all part of being a successful accountant.
You’ll be responsible for a wide range of financial operations, including record-keeping and compliance. This means you’ll develop strong ethics and discretion when handling confidential information.
Accountancy is a career that can take you around the world — so how do you become an accountant?
*Data sourced from JobOutlook.gov.au
1. Choose the course that’s right for you
Yes, it’s highly likely you’ll need some accounting qualifications before employers will even look at your resume.
The good news is, you’ve got plenty of options when it comes to accounting courses. There are certificates, diplomas, advanced diplomas, bachelor degrees and master degrees. You’ll just need to choose the one that’ll take you where you want to go.
If you want to become a Chartered Accountant (CA) or Certified Practising Accountant (CPA), you’ll need to start with a relevant professional accredited degree. There’s a few options to choose from: a Bachelor of Accounting, a Bachelor of Accounting and Business Information Technology (Professional) or a Bachelor of Business with a major in Accounting and Finance, a major in Accounting or a major in Accounting and Financial Planning. So many options! This will make you eligible for membership to the internationally recognised Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CAANZ) and/or CPA Australia. If you want to be an accountant at an international organisation, you will need to become a Chartered Accountant or Certified Practising Accountant.
You can join the Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) with a Diploma or Advanced Diploma of Accounting.
If you want to advance your accounting career, innovate in your profession, and work to solve more complex and interesting problems a Master of Professional Accounting could help you achieve these goals.
2. Register with a professional association
Once you’ve graduated, depending on the course you study, you may be eligible to qualify for membership or entry to internationally-recognised programs offered by Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, CPA Australia or the Institute of Public Accountants.
Membership of professional associations or the programs they offer can open up more career opportunities for you, both here and overseas, so its definitely worth considering. Fees apply.
3. Advance your career with a master degree
It’s not essential for you to have a master degree to practise as an accountant. However, completing further study will signal to your employer that you are keen to take the next step in your career. Plus, many larger organisations will be on the lookout for accountants with postgraduate qualifications for more senior roles. A Master degree in Business or Accounting can help you to be the one they choose.
Combined with your experience working as an accountant, it could even lead you to a career as a Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Commercial Financial Controller or to starting your own business.