Open Colleges

Accounting and Finance Skills: Natalia Studies Bookkeeping Online from New Zealand

by Yvette McKenzie
Posted: February 01, 2017

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Imagine taking up the challenge of studying online to brush-up your old skills for the modern workforce? We spoke to Natalia Prikhodko, an Open Colleges student who is back into her studies after taking care of her family.


Natalia Prikhodko lives in Stonefields, New Zealand, one of the newest central-eastern suburbs in Auckland City. She’s been studying bookkeeping online with Open Colleges for several months now and gaining some great results.

“I had a long time in between my studies,” the student explains. “I had a gap with ‘no brain work’ and I just felt that the time was right to do something new.”

Originally from Russia, Natalia now lives and works in New Zealand where she cares for her family. She mentions how important is was for her to be able to study this course online. “I wanted to challenge myself and study something - especially in English.”

The flexibility of the course was also essential. “As I have a 16-year-old boy, I need to be able to take care of him – as well as my husband and house! To do all my studies online is very convenient for me, as a homemaker.”

Finding a new career as a BAS Agent


Natalia decided to study the Certificate IV in Bookkeeping, a course that is designed to equip students with the accounting skills, knowledge and accredited qualification they need to register as a BAS agent, start their own business, or take the next step in their accounting career. Accreditation in this field is now a government requirement to practise as a bookkeeper.

“I had some experience with bookkeeping practice before,” Natalia explains, “but it was back in Russia –with no computer! That was about 17 years ago, and things have changed quite a bit.”

Natalia has had a very interesting career path. After leaving school in the 80s, she attended university as an engineering student, graduating a few years later. Natalia then went on to work as an engineer at an architectural firm until the mid-90s.

After this, Natalia’s career took a very different turn and she began a bookkeeping course, completing it within only a matter of months, then going on to work as a bookkeeper for a Russian firm. After this, Natalia took some time off from the workforce due to marriage and motherhood.

“I didn’t work in my profession since about the year 2000 when my youngest son was born. Then my family moved to New Zealand in 2001.” She now spends her free time studying and indulging in her love of gardening – and caring for her family.

New skills in Accounting & Finance: What does a Bookkeeper do?

Nationally recognised within Australia, the Certificate IV in Bookkeeping meets all the requirements set out by the by the Tax Practitioners Board for registering as a Business Activity Statements (BAS) Agent. A BAS Agent usually performs tasks such as preparing financial reports for the lodging of BAS statements. Many small, medium and large businesses use BAS Agents and many work as contractors, or within their own small business.

Bookkeeping courses online to enhance accounting skills

For Natalia, the goal posts are slightly different. “I plan on using my qualification just mainly for self-education - for now.” The future may hold something different. The online student mentions that there were some challenges when it came to learning new skills for the course.

“I found computer programs such as Excel and MYOB challenging at times – they were completely new to me.” But Natalia is steadily progressing through her course, meeting the challenges as they come.


Gaining new skills while studying Bookkeeping online

So, how has studying online from New Zealand been for Natalia? “It’s been great!” she says. “A little bit stressful at times, mainly because of my level of English. I also felt I had ‘a big gap’ (between studies) where I did not do much learning but I did feel excited when I constantly found myself learning new things.”

Natalia also says that her academic achievements helped to motivate her. “I also felt especially good after getting high grades as result of all my hard work and dedication.”

The future for Natalia might involve more study. “I may do another course within the next five years,” the student says. “We’ll see what happens next.”

To find out more about studying online with Open Colleges, Australia’s leader in online learning, head to the Open Colleges website to search for a course that’s right for you.



Yvette has over a decade of professional experience at some of Australia’s largest media corporations, including Southern Cross Austereo and the Macquarie Media Network. With a degree in Communications (majoring in Journalism), she covers stories on education, new knowledge technologies and independent learning.

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