What does an accountant do?

Accounting is about more than just filling out your annual tax return, which you might not realize unless you have prior experience working in a large company or have studied accounting.

The global financial and economic system is built on a foundation of accounting principles.

In point of fact, accountants play a significant part in the operation of all kinds of enterprises and organizations, from the transactions that take place at a cash register to the operations of financial markets and farms.

An accountant is typically what people think of when they hear the term "registered tax agent" in Australia. An accountant is someone who can advise you on your obligations under the law, as well as help you prepare and pay your taxes.

In addition to that, some individuals who specialize in tax accounting also work as financial planners. This implies that they will be able to describe the tax needs for you and your family, as well as plan and implement strategies for you.

What kinds of things do accountants do on a regular basis?

There is never a dull moment in the life of an accountant because no two days are ever structured in the same way. Generally speaking, accountants are expected to handle a diverse range of responsibilities. This is because each customer and organization is unique and may require individualized assistance. You will find a brief summary of some of the responsibilities that are placed on accountants on a daily basis in the following paragraphs:

  • Offer guidance on financial matters, particularly in relation to the state of the company's finances.
  • Examine the statements of profit and loss and investigate any issues with the cash flow.
  • Make certain that the filing of taxes is done promptly and accurately and that all responsibilities are met.
  • Take care of the outstanding invoices.
  • Audit your company's operations.
  • Planning for expansion and assistance with long-term strategy

To reiterate, not a single day in the life of an accountant is ever the same. There is, however, a certain field in which the majority of accountants tend to specialize and thrive.

Bookkeepers and tax preparers

Assisting customers in the preparation and submission of their tax returns is one of the primary responsibilities of an accountant. Everyone, from freelancers and single traders to small businesses and profitable companies, is required to adhere to the numerous laws and requirements that have been established by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

In order to continue providing their clients with the benefit of their expertise, accountants are obligated to remain current on the ever-shifting tax landscape. Accountants work to educate their customers on the various tax deductions and write-offs that may be available to them, as well as to compute any capital gains that may have been realized.

To say nothing of payroll and superannuation, the Goods and Service Tax (GST) and the Business Activity Statement (BAS) can be a significant source of stress for new business owners as well as owners of developing firms. This is one of the ways in which accountants can add significant value to the services they provide for their clients.

Even if you already have your credentials, becoming an accountant calls for ongoing education and the development of new skills in order to keep up with changing financial conditions and legal requirements. A large number of accountants are going to receive training on how to use cloud accounting software like QuickBooks to communicate with their clients, track their progress, and finish their reporting. The most successful accountants understand the importance of staying current with the ever-developing technological landscape that underpins the accounting and finance industries.

If you want to become an accountant, do you need to have formal training?

You will require some sort of official education and training in order to operate as an accountant. In a similar vein, if you are the owner of a company and you are looking for an accountant, you will want to make certain that the person you hire can present pertinent credentials confirming his or her position.

There are many distinct kinds of accountants, a topic that will be covered briefly in the conclusion of this piece. However, in basic terms, the various categories are organized under the following three distinct professional bodies:

In order to join any of these organizations, you will need to have at least a Bachelor's degree. Accountants who wish to become members of the ICAA or CPA Australia are required to hold a bachelor's degree in accounting or a degree that is academically equivalent. That almost always consists of a bachelor's degree in business.

The membership requirements of the IPA are a little bit stricter. The FNS50215 Diploma in Accounting is a prerequisite for membership in this organization.

If you are not a part of any of these categories, it is possible that you could still work in accounting and be responsible for crunching numbers. In a strict sense, the only time that you are required to be a part of one of these organizations is if you intend to publish financial reports, and more specifically, if those reports are going to be evaluated by third parties. Only certified public accountants are qualified to generate various types of financial statements, such as balance sheets, among other types.

What kinds of professional development are expected of me?

When determining which talents to concentrate on in your professional growth, it is crucial to take into consideration not only your long-term ambitions and objectives but also the skills that are specific to your industry.

Up to and including the advanced level These days, hiring managers nearly universally need applicants to demonstrate proficiency in Microsoft Excel. Accountants are increasingly essential to an organization as a result of their capacity to utilize new technologies and business intelligence software. This is because the requirement for immediate information is becoming increasingly vital.

The need for expertise in accounting software is becoming increasingly in demand among our clientele. Employers are searching for employees who can immediately contribute to the company's success upon starting a new job without requiring them first to complete any necessary training.

The Chartered Professional Accountants (CPA) is the most prominent accounting body in Australia. It mandates that its members participate in ongoing training and education over the course of their careers.

Other professional organizations, such as the Association of Accounting Technicians Australia, the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers, The Tax Institute, and the Institute of Public Accountants, are also responsible for ensuring the continued professional growth of accountants.

Students enrolled in Open Colleges are often eligible to receive a student membership that is valid for 12 to 24 months at certain organizations (another student benefit!).

Essential abilities required of accountants

In addition to having a strong understanding of finance and the ability to work well with numbers, an accountant must also possess strong emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills. The following are some of the qualities that should be exhibited by a good accountant:

  • Seeing and having the foresight
  • Problem-solving skills
  • perspective with a focus on specifics
  • Abilities in communication
  • Time management skills
  • Commitment

When pursuing a profession in accounting, you should strive to make your clients' lives as hassle-free as you possibly can. If you have good foresight and vision, you will be able to spot problems early on, which will allow you to address them before they become more widespread problems. In a similar vein, having the ability to solve problems will enable you to think creatively and discover answers to any problems that may crop up in your life.

In addition to this ability, accountants have to be able to pay great attention to the specifics. Because anything as seemingly little as a minor detail might end up costing your customer thousands of dollars, you'll want to be sure that you stay on top of your game at all times.

In addition to this, you will need to be able to effectively convey delicate topics to your customers. You will need to have a solid understanding of precisely what it is that they want and how you can assist them.

Last but not least, if you want to be successful as an accountant, you need to be willing to put in the time. There will be some late nights, and you'll need to be able to multitask effectively in order to accommodate the various customers. However, if you are able to maintain your dedication to the position, you will discover that it is incredibly fulfilling and has the potential to give a lot in the way of professional advancement.

The possibility of having a successful career in accounting is really intriguing. Working with customers and assisting business owners, both large and small, in staying on top of their finances and fulfilling their tax requirements may be a job that completely transforms a person's life. Working as an accountant can take on a variety of guises, depending on whether you want to be employed by a small or a large company, or whether you want to be your own boss and start your own business.

Accounting Careers and Job Types

Accounts Clerk

A degree of any kind is not required in order to work in the field of accounting as a clerk however it is strongly recommended. Those individuals who are assigned with the obligation of recording various sorts of financial transactions are known as accounts clerks. For instance, you have the option of focusing on either accounts receivable or accounts payable, billing, or payroll in order to fulfil your responsibilities. It is likely that you will be responsible for a wide array of transaction types if you are the only accounting clerk employed by the organisation. A successful career can be launched in a variety of ways, one of which is by completing an internship or traineeship, which usually lasts for a duration of one year. Formal qualifications could come in the form of a Certificate III in Accounts Administration, a Certificate IV in Bookkeeping, or a Certificate III in Business Administration. Each of these options is a valid alternative.

Accounting assistant, accounting clerk, accounting clerk (accounts receivable), accounting clerk/finance officer, accounts payable clerk, administration and accounts clerk, credit controller, data entry/accounts clerk, finance officer, junior accounting clerk, legal accounting clerk, legal accounting manager, legal bookkeeper/accounts clerk/payroll, office/accounts clerk, office administrator/accounts clerk, payroll officer/accounts clerk, receptionist/accounts clerk, senior accounting clerk


Are you detail-oriented and conscientious? Consider working in the field of accounting or auditing. The vast majority of auditors are third-party professionals who work independently and are not employed by the firm being audited. These auditors are invited or sent inside businesses to carry out financial audits, where they verify that reports are accurate and that operations are up to standard. Certain companies choose to staff themselves with internal auditors. You are strongly encouraged to hold a bachelor's degree in accounting in addition to being registered with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) (ASIC). The majority of auditing jobs need candidates to have qualifications as a CA (Chartered Accountant) or CPA (Certified Practising Accountant).

Audit accountant, auditor, intermediate auditor, internal auditor, revenue auditor, senior accountant - audit, senior auditor, and senior internal auditor are all job titles that can be found in the auditing industry.


Bookkeepers are the individuals in charge of maintaining order inside a company's records. The majority of the time, a degree is not expected from candidates for this post. The majority of responsibilities consist of monitoring all transactions, keeping a check on the accounts that have been received, and making fast payments on any debts that are owed to the organisation. If you are interested in pursuing a career in this industry, you should investigate the possibility of obtaining an entry-level position that involves duties related to the industry (for example, a position as a data entry clerk) and then working your way up from there. If you are serious about pursuing a career in this industry, you should investigate the possibility of obtaining such a position. Acquiring a certification is going to be necessary for you in order to progress further in your chosen field of work. A Certificate IV in Bookkeeping is a very popular and widely pursued educational path in the bookkeeping industry.

There are many different job titles associated with bookkeeping, including administration assistant/bookkeeper, book-keeper, bookkeeper/accountant, client book-keeper, corporate book-keeper, company accountant/bookkeeper, junior bookkeeper-external, medical practise book-keeper, MYOB book-keeper, QuickBooks book-keeper, senior book-keeper, and senior bookkeeper/accountant.

The Accounting for Business Services

A career as an accountant providing business services could be the right choice for you if you are able to communicate well and have strong leadership qualities. Customers, who may be either major or small firms, would seek out your expertise in the areas of business and taxes. There are a variety of tasks that can fall under the purview of an accountant, such as compiling financial statements, filing tax returns, offering advice and direction on various financial plans, and tracking the depreciation of various assets. A degree in accounting as well as prerequisites to become a CA or CPA are required. A significant quantity of work history is typically required for many occupations.

Job titles: accountant business service public practice, business services accountant, business services accountant/client manager, graduate business services accountant, intermediate business services accountant, manager business services accountant, private clients supervisor, senior business services accountant, supervisor business services accountant, senior taxation and business services accountant, SMSF / business services accountant, tax and business services accountant.

Chief Executive Officer of a Company (CFO)

In the vast majority of businesses, the position of Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is reserved exclusively for seasoned professionals who have amassed a significant amount of relevant job experience. This senior executive is the one ultimately responsible for the enterprise's financial well-being and success, and as part of their responsibilities, they are in charge of supervising all elements of the company's finances. It is necessary for the Chief Financial Officer to possess strong leadership skills due to the vast number of subordinates that report to them. If you want to become a chief financial officer in the future, you need get a CA (Chartered Accountant) or CPA (Certified Practising Accountant) licence after you finish your accounting degree. This is necessary if you want to work in that role in the future.

There are a couple of different titles that can be used for these jobs, including chief financial officer and chief financial officer.

Accounting for Corporations

If you are ambitious and have a very good understanding of business, it is likely that a career in corporate accounting could be the right fit for you. This could be the ideal career path for you. Due to the fact that you are in charge of maintaining the company's financial records and ensuring that the company complies with all applicable policies, regulations, and laws, you play an important part in the operation of the corporation. You are required to obtain professional certification and registration in order to become a CPA (Certified Practising Accountant) with CPA Australia or a CA (Chartered Accountant) with Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand. Both of these titles represent the highest level of accounting expertise. Employment prospects in corporate accounting often need for candidates to possess at least a bachelor's degree in accounting as a minimum level of education.

Accountants who specialise in corporate finance, accountants who specialise in corporate services, accountants who specialise in corporate services (global compliance and reporting), company accountants, corporate accountants, and divisional accountants are some examples of job titles that fall under the category of accountant. Accountants may also specialise in corporate services, global compliance and reporting, and corporate services.

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Cost Accounting

Accountants that specialise in cost accounting are accountable for recording and assessing the costs of their company's goods, processes, and materials, as well as reporting those findings in financial statements. Cost accountants provide management with advise on the most productive ways to streamline operations and limit expenses, and they accomplish this by making ideas. This helps management make more informed decisions. There is a demand for cost accountants across a wide range of different corporate sectors, including the manufacturing and service industries. If you are someone who is precise, pays close attention to detail, and is an excellent communicator, you might be a good candidate for a job in cost accounting.

A few examples of job titles that fit within this category are cost accountant, cost and systems accountant, cost/inventory accountant, senior cost accountant, and trade and cost accountant.

Financial Accountant

Having accounting that is accurate from a financial standpoint is essential to the success of any company. It is the responsibility of the company's financial accountant or the person in charge of the company's finances to document and keep accurate records of the company's financial transactions. This expert is needed to follow the right procedures when preparing financial reports for distribution to regulators and shareholders. These reports must be prepared in accordance with the relevant protocols. They keep track of the organization's liabilities, as well as its incoming cash, outgoing expenses, and total expenses. In order to qualify for the majority of available positions in the field of accounting, you will need to possess a bachelor's degree in accounting in addition to a professional certification and the ability to register as a CPA or CA. In addition to this, it is absolutely necessary to have exceptional analytical and organising skills.

Assistant Financial Accountant, Commercial Finance Manager - Research, Divisional Financial Accountant, Financial Accountant, Financial Accounting Manager, Financial Analyst, Financial Analyst - Major Projects, Financial Systems Accountant, Financial Reporting Accountant, Lead Financial Accountant, Senior Accountant - Finance Operations, Senior Financial Accountant, Senior Financial Accountant - Group Financial Accountant, Senior Financial Accountant - Group Financial Accountant, Senior Financial Accountant - Group Financial Accountant, Senior Financial Accountant - Group Financial Accountant, Assistant Financial Account

Financial Controller

When it comes to the day-to-day running of a business, financial controllers are a vital component of the executive management teams with which they work closely and form an integral part of those teams. They are responsible for overseeing the company's financial concerns, which includes monitoring the company's internal controls and ensuring that all activities are operating as intended. These professionals are accountable for a wide range of responsibilities, including those that are associated with accounting and finances, in addition to those that are associated with operations, personnel, marketing, and production. The majority of jobs for financial controllers require candidates to obtain accounting qualifications and to be professionally registered with CPA Australia or Chartered Accountants Australia New Zealand. This is a prerequisite for the majority of these jobs.

Job titles: assistant financial controller, cost controller, divisional financial controller, finance manager, financial controller, group financial controller, regional financial controller.

Financial Planner

People who are able to maintain their attention on both the specifics and the overall picture would be well-suited for a profession in financial planning. A financial planner or adviser does an analysis of their client's financial situations and assists them in making decisions that are in their client's best interests. Financial planners offer advice and suggestions to their clients in investments, tax legislation, and insurance. They are self-employed and/or employed by various businesses. In order to work as a financial planner in Australia, you are going to need to satisfy the standards that have been established by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). A degree in financial planning is required of you, and a degree in business or accounting is helpful as well (with a focus on financial planning). If you subsequently decide that you want to concentrate your career in financial planning on a specific area, such as insurance or superannuation, you will have to take further training in order to do so. When you initially start out in the working world, it is quite likely that you will begin your career in an entry-level role such as a paraplanner or administrator and then work your way up from there.

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Accounting With a Forensic Focus

Forensic accountants are trained to uncover illegal activities such as embezzlement and fraud so that justice can be served. Financial information is also analysed by these professionals for use in legal proceedings, such as those concerning divorce. In addition to that, their expertise can be put to use in a range of different legal actions. There is a significant probability that you will be able to obtain employment with a major company that has its own own forensic accounting team. This is an excellent opportunity for you. If you want to work in this sector of the economy, you must first get a degree in accounting and then submit an application for professional registration as a Chartered Accountant (CA) or Certified Practising Accountant. Only then will you be eligible for a job in this field (CPA).

This category includes a wide range of job titles, some of which are forensic accountant, forensic accountant manager, forensic solutions manager, and lead financial accountant.

Accounting for Funds

If you work in the accounting department of a fund, you will be in charge of doing all of the necessary bookkeeping duties for an investment portfolio. A mutual fund or a hedge fund might be responsible for managing the holdings, which might be in the form of commodities, securities, or real estate. You will be held accountable for meeting particular work deadlines because there is a requirement for daily reporting. Jobs in fund accounting can be located in the departments of fund management at a variety of different financial organisations. After you have finished your education in accounting, you should make efforts to become professionally registered as a Chartered Accountant (CPA) or Certified Practising Accountant as soon as possible (CPA).

Some examples of job titles that are common in this industry include fund accountants, portfolio accountants, senior fund accountants, senior asset accountants, and senior fund/property accountants. Financial accountants that focus specifically on funds and investments also fall into this category.

Accounting professionals that excel in leadership, interpersonal and communication skills, and other leadership-related skills have a tonne of opportunities in the area of personal and corporate insolvency. The next thing you should do after completing your accounting degree is start looking for jobs in the industry so you can gain experience. The credentials offered by ARITA, which is an acronym for the Australia Restructuring, Insolvency, and Turnaround Association, will very probably be required of you. In some circumstances, having the Chartered Accountant (CA) designation rather than the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation can be advantageous. The execution of investigations, the creation of necessary reports and returns, and the upkeep of communication with creditors and other external stakeholders are among the duties assigned to accountants who specialise in bankruptcy.

Some of the occupations in this group include insolvency practitioners, insolvency senior accountants, intermediate/senior accountants with expertise in insolvency and reconstruction, personal insolvency accountants, and insolvency accountants.

Accounting for Management Purposes

Management accountants are responsible for the development of financial reports that are utilised by firms in order to make informed business decisions. These reports are used by management accountants to create these reports. They maintain a close check on the state of the company's finances, make accurate guesses, and present information in a way that is understandable and succinct (such as by using statistical techniques and charts). These professionals usually get positions within the upper management teams of a variety of different companies. After finishing your degree in accounting, you should submit an application for professional registration with CPA Australia or Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand as soon as possible. The vast majority of jobs in management accounting require a certain amount of relevant work experience, typically measured in years.

There are many different job titles that fall under the umbrella of this profession; some examples include an assistant management accountant, a management accountant, a management and financial accountant, a manager of management accounting operations, a manager or senior manager of accounting consulting services, a senior management accountant, a site accountant, a strategic accountant, a strategic financial management accountant, a systems accountant, and a qualified management accountant.

Accountant for the Project

Instead of being accountable for the accounting work done for companies as a whole, project accountants are in charge of the accounting work done for individual projects. The rigors tracking of individual projects is one of the many distinct components that are required in order to monitor and ensure the performance of the organisation as a whole. These industry professionals collect, examine, and assemble data in order to evaluate the growth of their efforts and the effectiveness of their work. If you are interested in working in this field, you should work towards acquiring a bachelor's degree in accounting and become certified as a CA (Chartered Accountant) or CPA. If you are interested in working in this area, you should work towards earning a bachelor's degree in accounting (Certified Practising Accountant).

There are a few other job titles that are available, including assistant project accountant, project accountant, programme accountant, and senior project accountant.

Accounting for Sales Revenue

In every business, the person who is in charge of accounting for revenue (including sales and services), is known as the revenue accountant. One of the most critical roles is ensuring that accounts receivable and payments are constantly under close watch. They are accountable for managing daily receipts, monthly revenue intake sheets, and inter-company reports, in addition to supervising the process of reconciling corporate and bank accounts. In addition to putting together financial statements on a monthly basis, the personnel who have received the necessary training to do so are responsible for accurately documenting all business transactions. Qualifications that are comparable to those of a Chartered Accountant (CA) or Certified Public Accountant are required of candidates in the majority of circumstances in order to be considered for this role (CPA).

The positions of senior accountant and revenue accountant are examples of possible titles.

Accounting for Taxes

Tax accountants are the name given to accountants who focus their practise on taxation. Some of the obligations that CPAs take on include conducting audits, maintaining financial records, and preparing tax returns for individuals and/or corporations. When these specialists are hired to work with individuals, their duties most commonly include advising customers on how to make sound financial decisions and supporting customers in accurately filing tax forms. In some cases, they may also be responsible for analysing clients' financial situations and recommending investment strategies. They might also offer clients advice on how they can reduce the amount of tax that they are forced to pay, which is another service they might offer. Because the complexity of business taxes is significantly larger than that of individual taxes, accountants who work with corporations often need to have a higher level of competence than their individual counterparts. This is because of the fact that firms pay significantly more in taxes.

The terms "senior tax accountant," "tax accountant," "head of accounting and tax," "tax and accounting advisory," "tax / corporate accountant," and "taxation accountant" are all examples of job titles that fall under this category.

If you get the impression that your current accountant is just going through the motions, you are going to be stunned by the impact an exceptional accountant can make in your situation. They have the ability to impart your organisation with a plethora of extra capabilities and insights, which your company may put to good use.

Therefore, what exactly is it that an accountant is responsible for? In all seriousness, it is whatever it is that you require. Those are the only parameters. Because even if they are unable to address the problem that your firm is having on their own, they will know someone else who can help.

When searching for an accountant, it is essential to keep in mind that it is necessary to consider a wider range of factors than only the individual's level of competence and skill. You need to be able to have very honest conversations with this person, so find someone that you get along with very well because you will need to. There is an accountant available that is pleasant to work with and is able to perform all of these tasks for you. If you look hard enough, you can find this person.

Accounting encompasses far more than simply the manipulation of numbers from beginning to end. It is the language most commonly used in professional and business settings. As a consequence of this, it is essential for each and every person to have a rudimentary understanding of accounting.

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