Accounting careers in Australia are well paid and often provide the opportunity of promotion and travel within a corporation or consulting group. In this article we’ll be looking at this steady career path that is well suited to people who love figures, analysing data, and contributing to major organisational decisions.
Accounting and taxation professionals in Australia enjoy low unemployment rates (compared to other employment sectors) and can realistically follow any of these four career paths:
1. Tax Accountant (60-85k)
Tax Accountants prepare and submit taxation returns and help their clients minimise tax obligations while meeting all their compliance duties. Work in your own private practice, at a Partner firm, or for a business enterprise.
CAREER QUICK FACTS: Tax accountants need a thorough understanding of taxation law and the administrative functions of the Australian Taxation Office. Tax accountants often handle disputes between their clients and the ATO.
2. Assistant Accountant (60-70k)
Assistant Accountants are employed by businesses and corporate enterprises to support a team of tax and accounting professionals. This is an excellent entry point into an accounting or tax career path, and you may be mentored by senior accountants and finance executives. Your job role will involve payment and invoice processing, as well as the interim preparation of budgets and financial statements.
CAREER QUICK FACTS: Assistant accountants need strong computer and data entry skills. They also require an advanced working knowledge of the MS-Office Suite — particularly using macros and complex formulas within Excel spreadsheets.
3. Management Accountant (85-90k)
Management Accountants work for large enterprises and corporations preparing budgets, cash flow reports, operating cost analyses, and financial statements. You’ll be helping senior management and other stakeholders understand the financial health of the organisation and advising on the financial risk of capital expenditure, expansion, or investments.
CAREER QUICK FACTS: Management accountants usually work as part of a corporate team and require outstanding time management and personal productivity skills.
4. Project Accountant (100-110k)
Project Accountants monitor contracts, funding, payments, wages, cashflow, and other financial activities over the lifecycle of a single project. Your most important responsibility will be keeping a close watch on budget expenditure. As a Project Accountant you may be employed by a single company and assigned to regional projects, or as an independent consultant specialising in areas like construction, engineering, events, or even franchises.
CAREER QUICK FACTS: Project accountants need to have a good command of contract law and are able to use their problem solving skills to maximise contract outcomes. Project accountants also know how to apply risk management principles to the financial aspects of a project.
You can get started as a practising accountant or tax agent in Australia with a Diploma of Accounting, but to increase your earning capacity you might also consider the:
Joining a professional accounting institution is an excellent way of building a professional network and keeping your knowledge of Australian business and taxation law up-to-date. Tax Agents and Taxation Accountants who require registration with the Australian Tax Practitioners Board should consider joining the:
- Institute of Public Accountants (IPA)
- Institute of Chartered Accountants of Australia (ICAA)
- CPA Australia (CPA)