Accounting offers a diverse range of career paths and opportunities for the future, and there are just as many different options when it comes to study paths!
Approximately 55 per cent of accountants working in Australia hold at least a Bachelor’s Degree majoring in Accounting.
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This tertiary qualification is the requirement for accreditation by one of the three professional bodies which regulate the industry – the Institute of Public Accountants (IPA), CPA Australia (CPA) or the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Australia (ICAA).
This accreditation is important because under Australian law, only accountants with membership in one of these organisations are allowed to sign off on financial reports – which is a big part of the job!
Don’t stress though, most accountants begin working in their field to gain experience, and then pursue accreditation whilst working. Many workplaces provide financial assistance to get accredited, and time off to study. Be sure to ask!
A full-time Bachelor of Business will take several years to complete, but if you’re looking to fast-track your accreditation, the Institute of Public Accountants also offers membership to those with a Diploma of Accounting.
In the Diploma of Accounting, you’ll learn to prepare financial reports for business, prepare tax documentation for individuals, manage budgets and forecasts, develop and use complex spreadsheets, and establish and maintain accounting information systems.
It’s a stepping stone in the right direction to full accreditation and will allow you to get a job whilst thinking about the next steps.
Certificate level courses
Certificate level courses are a great way to get your foot in the door with accounting without committing to a full diploma or degree.
Although you won’t qualify for membership in the Australian accounting bodies, you’ll have the skills for roles such as bookkeeping, accounts payable/receivable and payroll – all of which are constantly in high demand by businesses of all sizes. Approximately 25 per cent of people working in accounting in Australia hold this level of qualification.
The Certificate III in Accounting Administrations course covers accounts payable/accounts receivable, preparing the trial balance, bookkeeping, EFT/e-business, purchases and sales, and preparing basic financial reports. It’s a great stepping stone for starting out in accounting and you can always upgrade your qualification at a later date.
Or, take the next step up to more senior roles with a Certificate IV in Accounting. The Cert IV covers preparing Business Activity Statements (BAS) and other office taxes, operational reporting, supervising bookkeeping software, making financial records, maintaining inventory records, preparing budgets, and maintaining payroll systems.
If you’re looking to run your own business, this kind of course will allow you to manage your day-to-day bookkeeping, giving you a great insight into how your business spends money, and save you money employing an accounting service.
Get those letters after your name
There are a large number of Registered Training Organisations offering courses in accounting to help you get a foot in the door, whether you’re looking at Certificate, Diploma or Degree level qualifications – check them out now!