How To Kickstart Your Career In Accounting
Accounting can be a rewarding and exciting profession if you have a knack for it. In fact, it can be built into a fulfilling career as long as you do the due diligence, get the right qualifications, and get the necessary experience.
Whether you only want to know if you’d be a good fit in the finance industry, or you already know accounting is the right career for you, it’s essential to get the proper education first. The good news is that accounting in Australia is a good choice, making it a highly competitive career. So, make sure that you give it your best.
Here’s what you need to do:
Australians who wish to start their career in accounting must begin with a certification in accounting. Next, get a bachelor’s degree or Diploma in Accounting from a recognized institution. If that isn’t immediately possible, try a Diploma in Accounting online course. However, if you want to try your hand at accounting before investing in higher education, accounting areas don’t require specializations and extra qualifications. These non-degree opportunities can be found in:
- Accounts Payable/Receivable;
It would be best to practice using accounting software and MS Excel to enhance your chances of excelling at your accounting job. A simple accounting client onboarding checklist might come in handy.
Once you have the necessary qualifications, it’s time to start applying for entry-level jobs to get the experience required in the industry. Depending on the company you want to apply to, make sure you know how to get your foot in the door with a viable plan.
For that, you’ll need an attention-grabbing cover letter and a CV. Remember, plenty of people will probably apply for the same position, so do whatever possible to stand out. This usually means making sure you make an impression at the interview.
Build up Your Credibility
The accounting and finance industries value professional education and the drive to gain relevant qualifications above everything else. So, if you already have your diploma and degrees, it may be time to level up and register for a Chartered Accountant (CA) or Certified Practicing Accountant (CPA) program.
These qualifications will help you specialize in your preferred area of accounting and give you the credibility you need to climb the corporate ladder at your organization. The sooner you take the CPA exam, the faster you can start building up your career. In fact, you can even do it while earning your degree, so don’t delay it until you start working. The chances are that it’ll be a lot harder to get done with the CPA while working full-time.
You can choose your new career as an accountant from the following sectors:
- Financial Services. This includes private and personal banking, pensions, and investments
- Non-Profit. Work for an NGO or a government department
- Corporate. Work in-house at a for-profit business.
- Public Practice. These are firms that deal with a host of different clients.
- Outsourcing or Advisory Services. You work as a temporary resource for the duration of a project.
Once you have selected what sector you want to join, the next step is to decide what role you hope to play. There are different levels to the accounting hierarchy, each with its designated function. After completing a degree or diploma in accounting in Australia, you could become a:
- Risk manager;
- Compliance auditor;
- Forensic accountant;
- The internal or external auditor;
- Chief Financial Officer (CFO);
- Business or financial analyst;
- A tax accountant or bookkeeper;
- Funds or credit control manager;
- Financial or management accountant;
- Treasurer, payroll, accounts payable, or accounts receivable;
- And eventually a partner!
Understandably, these roles all depend on how experienced you are and what sort of skills you possess. The pinnacle of your career should be a partnership at the accounting firm you work for that would make you one of the head honchos.
As an accounting graduate, this is the peak of your powers which you hope to one day achieve. And many people do stick around for long enough to get there. They put in the work and stay dedicated to the field long enough to reach here.
But it won’t be easy
There will be countless late nights, early mornings, and missed weekends. Being a part of the accounting industry is by no means a walk-in-the-park. On the contrary, it will have you working for lengths you never imagined possible.
Accounting is very simply defined as the process of maintaining financial dealings. However, business involves a lot more than making purchases and selling goods. As an accountant, you’ll have to keep track of the thousands of expenses, possible losses, assets, debtors and creditors, and even sales figures. And you’ll have to record them in a way that makes sense to all stakeholders and investors.
If you feel like this is your calling, you should opt for a post-graduate in Accounting. This could be a master’s program or a diploma in accounting, such as a Certified Practicing Accountants (CPA) program. If you want, you could also get a diploma in accounting online, eliminating the need even to attend a physical class – making it easier for you to pursue other endeavors as well.
There are a variety of benefits to choosing a career in accounting. These include:
As long as there are small and big businesses, there will always be a need for accountants. Someone needs to keep recording transactions, no matter how bad the market may be doing. Businesses need to keep track of their finances and fulfill regulatory requirements. For example, they have to report their earnings and pay taxes, which need to be recorded. Only accountants can do all this.
Contrary to popular belief, even with the advancements in technology and AI, there is still no immediate danger to the accounting industry. There might be a variety of tasks that can be automated but what machines lack is deliberation. They might be able to do calculations and record information, but the human touch is essential for certain decisions.
The Salary Is Pretty Good
Most accounting jobs offer excellent remuneration. As it requires a unique set of skills, companies do not shy away from paying a good amount of money to retain talented individuals.
Payscale reports that, in Australia, an accountant earns an average salary of AU$55,056 annually. Moreover, financial analysts earn close to AU$72,000 while budget managers can make anywhere from AU$89,000 to AU$109,000 per year. A lot of work goes into being a part of the accounting industry, but the money makes an effort worth it.
There Is A Lot To Choose From
As mentioned earlier, there are different sectors that you can be a part of in accounting. Depending on what sort of department you want to work in, you can choose your favorite and try to get into it.
Accounting isn’t for everyone. So, make sure that you have the aptitude for tracking numbers even when they aren’t obvious. You’ll also need to have an eye for detail and the ability to strategize budgets. A career in accounting can open up many horizons for you. It is by no means the most accessible field to enter, but your hard work does eventually bear fruit.
There will be many days when it might seem like it’s incredibly mundane, redundant, and boring, but the rewards are worth it. If you have a perfectionist streak, then you’d be incredibly good at this job. You need to start by getting into an undergraduate program for accounting or get a diploma in accounting online. Then, once you have managed to get the right qualifications, you need to start gaining experience. Slowly and gradually, as you climb up the ladder, you will learn more and earn more.