What working as an Accountant is really like

Post by Open Colleges on October 28th, 2020

Why are you considering a career in financial services? Is it because it’s a stable, growing industry? Because there’s opportunities for growth and overseas travel? Or maybe it’s because of the above-average wage for Accountants? 

There are plenty of good reasons to follow a career as an Accountant. In this blog, we take a look at some of the pros and cons and what it’s really like to work as an Accountant.

So, what does an Accountant do?

An Accountant’s job offers much more diversity than people realise. Here’s just some of the responsibilities an Accountant carries out in their day-to-day:

  • Analyse expenditure and revenue of a company
  • Prepare reports, budgets and forecasts
  • Identify where a company can save money, or can afford to spend more money
  • Present financial information to colleagues and management
  • Collate financial information that can be used to help make key business decisions
  • Provide financial advice
  • Liaise with external and internal auditors 

Of course, there are many different types of jobs out there for Accountants; and the roles you perform each day will depend on what kind of accounting job you have. For example, a day in the life of a Forensic Accountant will look quite different to that of a Tax Accountant. But at their core, you still need to utilise the same skills and knowledge to succeed in either role. 

Want to know what your career path in finance could look like? Read our blog: ‘What are the different types of jobs out there for Accountants?’

Accountant using calculator

Is being an Accountant a good career? Read on to find out. 

What are the benefits of being an Accountant?

Just like any other job, there are plenty of benefits to being an Accountant. But there are also downsides. In our opinion, the pros of following a career as an Accountant definitely outweigh the cons. However, if you’re considering becoming an Accountant, it’s important to look beyond any stereotypes or myths you might have heard and consider both sides of the coin before you launch your career. 

Pros and cons of working as an Accountant

Pro: It’s a growing industry

As an Accountant, you’ll be joining a workforce of 800,000 professionals which continues to grow. Financial services is a stable, reliable industry, and there’s plenty of room for growth for those ambitious types who want to climb the ladder. 

Pro: Salaries are competitive

Demand is high for trained, qualified professionals in Australia, and the salary for an Accountant is competitive.  The average full-time wage is $1660 per week, which is higher than the national average of $1460. 

Pro: You can work in any industry

The goal of a business is to make money. And the best person to handle money matters is a qualified professional! As an Accountant, you could find yourself working in any industry, whether that’s for a small or large company, a B corporation or a charity. And as money is a global language, you could also find yourself working overseas.

Pro: Your skills will always come in handy

Having accounting skills and knowledge is incredibly useful, especially if you want to start your own business. And having a background in accounting will add a big boost to your resume if you want to pursue a different career in the future, as many of your skills (preparing reports, reading numbers and data, forecasting, communicating with stakeholders, etc.) are transferable.

Pro: You’re always learning something new

Accountants need to continue to study and learn throughout their entire careers. This is an industry that doesn’t sit still (despite the reputation it has for being ‘boring’, which we’ll get to below). The rapid evolution of technology, changing laws and certification requirements means that the best Accountants are the ones who are always looking for new ways to upskill and learn something new. Now, this could be a pro or a con, depending on how you feel about study. But at OC, we whole-heartedly believe that a dedication to knowledge and ongoing education is a key for success, and definitely not something that fits into the ‘con’ pile.

Pro: There’s a wide range of jobs to choose from

As we mentioned above, there are many more jobs out there other than ‘Accountant’. Auditor, Financial Planner, Tax Accountant, Financial Analyst, Forensic Accountant, Chief Financial Officer… These are all potential career outcomes you could work towards.

Accountant discussing document

There are plenty of benefits to becoming an Accountant. 

Con: It can sometimes be stressful

Being an Accountant does come with its challenges. There are busy seasons throughout the year where those working in financial services will be under pressure. For example, the end of the financial year can be incredibly busy for many Accountants, whether they specialise in tax or not.

Con: Sedentary work environment

If you prefer to be outdoors and can’t imagine working behind a computer, then maybe accounting isn’t for you. For the most part, Accountants work in office environments. There might be opportunities for travel (and there are some roles, like Auditor, which involve site visits), but mostly you’ll be sitting behind a desk. 

Con: Accountants have a ‘boring’ reputation

Unfortunately, Accountants are generally depicted as boring and/or weird (think Keith from the UK The Office). However, the nature of the job dictates that Accountants need to maintain a level of professionalism, which some can read as dull. Accountants need to be professional—what would your reaction be if you walked into a dimly lit accountancy office to the blaring beats of Slumberjack, and sat down opposite a Tax Agent dressed in a Pikachu onesie? Would you trust this person to do your taxes? So, while being an Accountant isn’t as glamorous as, say, being the captain of a cruise ship or being a touring musician, it’s still a worthwhile career path and can be hugely rewarding. 

Ready to follow a rewarding career path in financial services?

Whether you’re looking to launch your career, formalise your skills, take the next step up the ladder or expand your existing skill set, we offer a number of online accounting courses that can help you reach your goals. 

Our FNS40217 Certificate IV in Accounting and Bookkeeping has been designed in consultation with industry experts to provide you with the in-demand skills employers are looking for. In this course, you’ll learn how to prepare financial reports, manage operational budgets, prepare business activity statements (BAS), establish and maintain payroll systems, small business planning and much more.

Take the first step towards an exciting career in financial services and start a 7 day free course trial online today.

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