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Maternity leave adds up to increased career opportunities

by Stuart Gibb-Cumming

Maternity leave gave Michelle the extra time to study a Certificate IV in Accounting with Open Colleges, while an upcoming holiday provided the incentive to complete the course quickly.

Having worked in the finance industry for over 15 years as a Finance Manager Michelle is very familiar with the accounting environment. This certainly helped her understanding of what the course offers.

While Michelle was capable of handling BAS activity statements before completing the course, to work on them for clients of her own required Tax Practitioners Board registration and an important part of that is the formal qualification provided by Open Colleges.

“You have to prove that you’ve completed 1400 hours of work in the industry over the previous 4 years. While the Open Colleges qualification is only one part of the application process, it is a necessary one,” she said.

The Certificate IV in Accounting course provides students with the knowledge and skills necessary to undertake operational reporting, prepare simple management reports and perform financial calculations. In Michelle’s case it met the Tax Practitioners Board education requirements for registered BAS agents.

Quizzed on how she completed a 2 year course in just over 3 months while gaining high distinctions in all subjects Michelle explains that while her baby was asleep she would study.

“I was passionate about it. I actually love studying so it’s not something I try to avoid. Also, my sister, husband and I had a cruise booked for a holiday and I wanted to get the course finished before we went!” she said.

Speaking about her course Michelle said “I was very impressed with the amount of feedback given when my assignments were graded. Obviously one expects to be graded but the amount of feedback that came with it was fantastic. It was really very helpful.”

I’ll probably study for more qualifications having had such a positive experience with Open Colleges.

While Michelle didn’t have a lot of contact with other students, she did answer other students’ questions that were posted on the forum. Also, because of the speed she wished to move through the course she didn’t take up the buddy option. Michelle felt it might not have been fair to the other student.

“Being able to tackle the course at my own speed suited me perfectly,” she said, adding, “In fact I’ll probably study for more qualifications having had such a positive experience with Open Colleges”.

Having completed the course, applied to and received registration from the Tax Practitioners Board, Michelle is now able to run her own business and take on her own clients if she so wishes.

Growing up on Kangaroo Island, Michelle moved to Adelaide to do her Bachelor in Business at university, before relocating to Brisbane to work in a not-for-profit radio station. Michelle is now back in Adelaide, lured, she claims, by her love of V8s and motorsport.

“My dream job would be a mixture of things. I love being a mum. I love working in finance and I love working for the not-for-profit sector. Blend them together and that’s my dream job,” she said.

Having worked both as a volunteer and a paid employee in commercial and not-for-profit organisations, Michelle believes her passion and forte is for the not-for-profit sector. Her long-term plans are certainly aimed in that direction.

“I’m still connected with two not-for-profits. One is community housing and the other Teen Challenge which is a drug and alcohol rehabilitation charity,” she said.

Excited by the prospect of adding to her family, the future for Michelle is a fantastic blank canvas, which now that she can choose to work for herself, for her current employer or for a new company, can lead virtually anywhere!

Do you want to work for yourself?

Certificate IV in Accounting will give you the skills to take on your own clients and run your own accounting business. Study when you want, where you want, and get the qualification you need to launch your career. Learn more here.

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