Melinda Arko is the Head of the Faculty of Finance and Accounting and has years of experience in the private sector and as a trainer in accounting and finance. She understands the importance of making sure her students remain connected to their studies with occassional opportnities for face-to-face contact with industry experts.
Ms Arko organised the conferences and said students were eager to meet other students and learn about the industry.
“The drawcard of the event was to hear from the Tax Practitioners Board and network with industry experts,” she said.
Open Colleges was joined by the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers and presented the conferences in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth.
Speakers included Rick Van Dyk and Tanya Spence from the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers; the Director of iAssist; and David Bates, Managing Director from Workforce Guardian.
Emma Cooper attended the Sydney conference in May as part of the FNS50217 Diploma of Accounting.
“I was interested in meeting the course coordinators and industry representatives,” Emma said. “The conference provided insight into new technologies, how to take the next step in my career, and moving into employment.”
The presentations covered core finance and accounting subjects as well as changes to the finance and accounting industry and essential compliance updates for bookkeepers. Students who attended were able to ask questions and this may have assisted them with completing core units more quickly.
The employment market for accounting and finance professionals is expected to continue growing as businesses complete for the best services. Melissa Broomfield is currently doing bookkeeping for the family business but wants to broaden her future career opportunities.
“I want to continue on and become an accountant and work for myself,” Melissa said. To get there, Melissa enrolled in the Accounting Pathway Program that is unique to Open Colleges. “(Open Colleges) is excellent online learning and well organised. The trainers are very supportive and approachable.”
And, she said, the Finance and Accounting Conference is an added bonus.
“(The conference) was excellent to touch base on current and upcoming new tax obligations,” Melissa said. “Meeting other students benefits my studies – it helps to keep me on track and focused.”
Some students, like Karen Giles, are already working in the industry but need formal qualifications. Karen was enrolled in the FNS40217 Certificate IV in Accounting and Bookkeeping and wanted to start her own bookkeeping, BAS (Business Activity Statement) and tax agent business.
“(The conference) has given me more confidence to move forward and achieve my goals,” she said.
For Karen, online study is perfect because it’s flexible and she can study at home.
Studying online does not need to be a lonely experience, and conferences like this are a great opportunity for students to discuss subjects and share tips.
“It was definitely good to meet other students,” said Karen. “I’m not able to study at an attending college due to work commitments, so it was good to have discussions with other students.”
Fellow student Deb Esquilant agrees.
“[The conference] has given me great tips to expand my business and continue my study,” she said. “It was great to meet other students and share experiences.”
Deb has been running her own bookkeeping business for years but is looking to expand. “I am already working as a BAS agent and I wish to increase my knowledge and education.”
She was enrolled in the Bridging Course for Bookkeepers, a custom-designed course at that time, that provided a pathway from the Certificate IV in Bookkeeping to the Diploma of Accounting.
“I’m on the fast track to the Diploma of Accounting,” she said.
Another student, Jan Mandelson, has never worked in the tax or finance industry before and is looking for a career change. Jan is new to the FNS40217 Certificate IV in Accounting and Bookkeeping but thought the conference was too good an opportunity to be missed.
“This was above my learning limit, having not seen a BAS before, however I will benefit greatly from today when I reach this section of the course,” he said.
Robert Pattie enrolled in the FNS50217 Diploma of Accounting to formalise his qualifications and take his career in a new direction.
“My current role is in business management but my interest is in finance,” he said.
“(Online study) is great: it fits with my lifestyle, is a professional learning environment and is helping me to progress in my career.”
Once he has completed his Diploma, Robert hopes to progress to a Bachelor Degree in Finance.
“[The conference] has given me more knowledge and confidence with my studies,” Robert said. “The trainers have been excellent – most helpful. Thanks for a great day!”