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How to Become an Accountant - Career Salaries, Job Stats & Education

How to Become an Accountant - Career Salaries, Job Stats & Education

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/ How to Become an Accountant - Career Salaries, Job Stats & Education

Thinking of an accounting career?

Accountants plan and provide accounting systems and services relating to taxation and the financial dealings of organisations and individuals, and advise on associated record-keeping and compliance requirements. The links below provide quick access to basic information for accounting jobs. 

Job Outlook Average Salary Work Hours Age Groups
Education Level Skills Trends Courses Interview with a Pro

Accountant  job outlook


Accountant job outlook

The graph shows historical and projected (to 2024) employment levels (thousands) for this occupation.

Source: *Job Outlook Government website ABS Labour Force Survey, Department of Jobs and Small Business trend data to May 2019 and Department of Jobs and Small Business projections to 2024.

Employment for Accountants to 2024 is expected to grow strongly, showcasing great potential for future growth. Employment in this very large occupation (195,800 in 2019) is expected to rise to a total sector size of 214,800 by 2024. The number of people working as Accountants grew moderately in 5 years from 181,400 in 2014 to 195,800 in 2019. 

Many of those employed in Accounting work in Professional, Scientific and Technical Services. Other popular industries include Financial and Insurance Services; and Public Administration and Safety.

Accountant salaries

Accountant salary

Source: *Job Outlook Government website. Based on ABS Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours (cat. no. 6306.0), May 2018, Customised Report. Median weekly total cash earnings for full-time non-managerial employees paid at the adult rate. 

Note: These figures are indicative and cannot be used to determine a particular wage rate.

The average weekly salary of Accountants is $1,660, which is approximately $86,320 AUD per year. 

Compared to the average of all jobs in Australia, Accountants earn $200 more per week or $800 monthly. At $200 above the average Australian weekly salary, a career in accounting is a good 

Accountant weekly work hours

80% of accountants work full-time, which is significantly higher than the all jobs average rate of 66%. This means that typically, accountants new to the field will expect to work full time throughout most of their career. Of those working full time, Accountants typically work 43 hours per week (compared to the 44 hour full time average).  

Accountant age profile

Accountant age

A vast majority of accountants fall into the age brackets of 25-34, 35-44 and 45-54. However, there is also a slightly higher level of activity in the 65 and Over category compared to the all jobs average, showcasing that Accountancy is a career that can be part of your life even over 65.

Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average

Accountant education levels

Accountant education

Source: *Job Outlook Government website. ABS Census 2016, Customised report. 

The standard level of education for Accountants is overwhelmingly weighted in favour of those holding a bachelor’s degree or above.

What accounting qualification do you need?

In Australia, to become an Accountant, you need a qualification such as Bachelor of Accounting, Master of Professional Accounting or you need to complete a Certified Practising Accountant (CPA) program. A bachelor degree in accounting is required to apply to an Australian professional accounting body.

To begin your career in accounting or to upskill, you can study the following courses:

FNS40217 Accounting and Bookkeeping Pathway Program

The Accounting and Bookkeeping Pathway Program is designed to train you in the skills needed to join a financial services industry. Launch your career in Accounting with this pathway program. 

Accounting Pathway Program

To enrol in the FNS50217 Diploma of Accounting you must have already completed the FNSSS00014 Accounting Principles Skill Set. This pathway program has been developed by industry experts to help you obtain both of these qualifications and give you the skills needed to launch or accelerate your career in finance.

FNS40217 Certificate IV in Accounting and Bookkeeping

Study the fundamental skills of both accountancy and bookkeeping with this great combined Certificate IV qualification. You can use this course to progress into further education, or move into a role as a Bookkeeper.

 FNSSS00014 Accounting Principles Skillset

Master core accounting principles and enhance your analytical performance.

FNSSS00004 BAS Agent Registration Skill Set (Release 2) certification

Upskill and become a BAS agent with this certification, which should ideally be combined with a Certificate IV in Accounting and Bookkeeping. Add another aspect to your financial career.

Xero Certification Short Course

Ideal short course for small business owners and professionals, this certification will teach you how to effectively use Xero small business accounting software. 

Why study accounting through Open Colleges?

Open Colleges’ accounting courses are delivered online, giving you the flexibility of organising your study around your life. You can enrol anytime of the year and study at your own pace.

Among other things, you'll learn how to apply principles of professional accounting practice to work in the financial services industry and to design and produce business documents.

You’ll also learn skills such as how to prepare financial reports, process financial transactions, extract interim reports, carry out business and instalment activity statement tasks, and to set up and operate a computerised accounting system.

Your course includes comprehensive student support to help you throughout your study. Some of the diplomas and certificates allow you to graduate with a government-accredited, nationally recognised qualification that can boost your chances of employment.

5 minutes with a professional Accountant

Ian Robinson Harris

Director and partner @ B+I Lockwood Accountants Pty Ltd

So Ian, what is an Accountant?

An Accountant is a person responsible for preparing financial reports and ensuring that businesses meet their compliance obligations. Usually they also perform analysis and provide advice to the owners regarding financial matters.

What does an Accountant do on a day to day basis?

In an accounting practice we prepare financial reports and tax returns for a wide range of businesses. We also advise people who are starting businesses, by preparing budgets and advising them how to solve problems they encounter. Many Accountants in practice are also able to advise owners how to make their businesses more profitable.

What are the best parts of the job?

Talking with business owners about their businesses and helping them to make wise decisions. I also enjoy visiting clients at their premises and understanding how their businesses work. As well as this I have to say that I enjoy helping start-ups get going.

What skills/attributes do potential Accountants need to have?

A reflective and analytical mind helps. You also have to have the ability to engage clients at any level and the capacity to express yourself clearly. A capacity to work with numbers is important, as well as an interest in business.

What’re your favourite things about being an Accountant?

I enjoy helping clients to capture new business opportunities and learning about new areas such as eCommerce and social media.

Thanks, Ian, for sharing your story with Open Colleges. 

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