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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. Greater detail can be found using any of the page tabs above.

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


Accounting Job Outlook

The graph shows historical and projected (to 2019) employment levels (thousands) for this occupation.

Source: *Job Outlook Government website. ABS Labour Force Survey, DEEWR trend data to November 2014 and DEEWR projections to 2019. Estimates have been rounded.

Employment for Accountants to 2018-19 is expected to grow strongly. Employment in this very large occupation (193 000 in November 2014) rose strongly in the past five years and in the long-term (ten years). The mix of industries employing Accountants is very favourable for employment growth prospects, according to the Job Outlook website.

Over the five years to November 2019, the number of job openings for Accountants is expected to be high (greater than 50,000). Job openings can arise from employment growth and people leaving the occupation.

Accounting Salaries

Source: *Job Outlook Government website. ABS EEBTUM survey August 2014 cat. no. 6310.0. Estimates have been rounded and consequently some discrepancies may occur between sums of the component items and totals.

Note: These figures are indicative and cannot be used to determine a particular wage rate. lists the average wage of Accountants Salary at $40 000 per annum.


Accounting Weekly Work Hours

The graph shows the average weekly hours (by gender and full-time and part-time) worked for this occupation, compared with all occupations. 

Accountants have an above average proportion of full-time jobs (85.4 per cent). For Accountants working full-time, average weekly hours are 40.3 (compared to 40.9 for all occupations) and earnings are above average - in the seventh decile. Unemployment for Accountants is below average.

Source: *Job Outlook Government website. ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2014.

Accounting Age Profile

As expected, the Tourism industry has a strong appeal amongst young people, making it a vibrant and dynamic work environment.

 Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2014.

Accountant Education Levels

Source: *Job Outlook Government website. ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2014.

Great Employment Prospects

According to a new Hudson survey of salaries, the employment market is broadly positive for accounting and finance professionals, with salaries rising. Some 53 per cent of employees were awarded salary increases last year (2012), with more than 17.5 per cent receiving increases greater than 10 per cent, the Accounting & Finance Salary and Employment Insights 2012 report found. It surveyed 1281 employers and 928 employees in Australia and New Zealand.

Accountant Skills Trends

Tourism Research Australia latest employment research suggest that growth in tourism employment is more likely due to growth in education tourism than in leisure travel, the segment that we might normally look to as an indicator of tourism performance. 
As a result, tourism employment moves toward highly qualified professionals and, to some extent, away from low skill positions more commonly associated with leisure tourism. 

What Accounting Qualification Do You Need?

Advanced Diploma of Accounting

Intended primarily for those ready to step up to a senior accountant's role, this course has been customised for open learning and provides a learning pathway that enables you to enrol into the prerequisite units and Advanced Diploma of Accounting FNS60210.

Diploma of Accounting

The course has been especially developed allowing you to enrol into the prerequisite units and nationally recognised Diploma of Accounting FNS50210. It provides valuable preparation for accounting professionals to maintain accounting systems, report on business performance and develop business plans.

Certificate IV in Business Administration (specialising in Finance)

This course provides a combination of business administration training and financial services, payroll and BAS skills. Enhance your employment prospects or formalise your current experience. A flexible qualification that is useful in multiple business contexts.

Certificate IV in Accounting

This Certificate covers the basics, including crucial accounting skills, accounting computer use and planning and gathering information. It provides students with the knowledge to undertake operational reporting, to prepare simple management reports and perform financial calculations.

Certificate IV in Bookkeeping

A comprehensive starter course, this certificate is dedicated to keeping students’ skills current and is ideal for aspiring and practising bookkeepers and BAS (Business Activity Statement) agents.

Certificate III in Accounts Administration

This qualification is designed to prepare those who need to perform a range of skilled operations in the financial industry sector such as a payroll officer, accounts clerk or an accountant’s assistant.  The course covers core general skills and basic groundwork knowledge for accounting.

BAS Agent Registration Skill Set

Designed to meet the needs of students’ demand, this attainment course comprises two key competencies from the FNS10 Financial Services Training Package to train students in the skills required for BAS and payroll work in a professional business environment.


Designed to prepare you for computerised accounting in your own business, this course teaches a range of bookkeeping functions including basic accounting and banking procedures. Students learn about sales recording, inventory management, reconciliation and payroll administration.

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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