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Accounting Graduate Jobs

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Accounting Graduate Jobs overview

A thorough accounting practice is an essential foundation for successful companies in today’s fast-paced, ever-evolving and complex business environment.

Accounting professionals manage financial accounts and help organisations become and stay financially efficient and profitable through their knowledge, analysis and leadership. They are highly regarded and uniquely skilled to interpret and analyse financial information and give advice on current conditions and future projections. Interestingly, accounting work can often be more strategic or managerial in nature rather than totally numbers based, particularly as careers progress. Many accounting professionals become business leaders, working in a range of organisations from small to large businesses, multinationals and government departments.

Besides providing you with the opportunity to work with a variety of clients, a career in accounting will also immerse you in a challenging environment. The fact that accounting regimes are fast paced and ever evolving means there are always opportunities for growth and development. It is never stagnant.

Accounting professionals can find themselves in a wide range of roles, from payroll right through to senior executive positions as they gain experience. Some examples of the broad range of roles in this field include:

  • CPA
  • Payroll/Accounts payable/receivable
  • Bookkeeping
  • Budget analyst
  • Auditor
  • Chief Financial Officer
  • Tax accountant
  • About Accounting Graduate Job tasks

Starting as an accounting graduate

A degree with a major in accounting is a gateway to working in a wide variety of fields including accountancy/financial services, accounting advisory companies or even starting your own private accounting consultancy firm.

As a starting point, many employers offering internships where students can begin to develop their skills and experience.

Upon graduating from studies, new accountants can quickly accumulate experience and become certified by CA ANZ or CPA, which can lead to roles of higher responsibility and scope to become department directors. Salaries and opportunities rise with experience - many CFOs and chief executives begin with careers in accounting.

Career pathways & progression

After becoming familiar with the fundamental elements of accounting, you can expect to begin to specialise in the more advanced applications of accounting.

Some examples of specialisations include:

  • Advisory experts work closely with clients to understand their requirements and how both the industry and economic trends can impact their accounting positions and planning.
  • Compliance is an area where you provide guidance to clients to enforce recognized accounting compliance and statutory accounting systems. You can work with clients across a spectrum of industries such as financial services, technology, infrastructure, and consumer products; to provide services to help manage transactions and regulatory obligations.
  • Risk Advisory work involves helping organisations to meet demands for greater transparency manage accounting risk.
  • Research and Development involves work with clients from a broad range of industries such as oil, mining, biotechnology, IT and pharmaceutical to develop policies and framework for novel technologies that promote efficient accounting administration.
  • Private Client Service specialists help individual clients with their full domestic and cross-border accounting and accounting services. Working in this area involves preparation of accounting documents, providing expert advice to clients in all matters relating to accounting issues as they relate to personal matters.
  • Quantitative Services involves assisting in the development of advanced analytical tools that are vital for any steadily evolving business to survive in a highly competitive business environment.
  • Accounting Technology involves harnessing the power of technology to help businesses meet and manage their complex accounting obligations in a strategic and efficient way to maximise cost efficiencies.

It is no secret that accounting careers can be more stable compared to other sectors of the finance industry. Even in a recession, companies require sound accounting advice (sometimes even more so in a recession!), and there are clear routes for professional development and career progression. For instance, if you are an Accounting Trainee there will be clear expectations and skills required to advance to a Senior Accounting roles, as opposed to some careers that don’t have clear career progression pathways. The majority of accounting companies support career advancement through a distinct career path. Graduates usually start as an Accounting Trainee, advance to mid-level and Senior Accounting roles such as Accounting Manager and finally top performers will move to Director or Principal or Partner.

Once you have gained sufficient accounting experience across a range of disciplines within the accounting field, you can chart your own course.  You may even want to consider setting up your own business to provide accounting services based on your training and extensive experience.

Salary Expectations

While technology and infrastructure-based jobs have continued to dominate the list of top-paying jobs in Australia, accounting maintains itself as a steady and consistent field for remuneration.

Starting salaries range between AU$50,000 - $85,000 per annum. The average salary for entry level graduate accountants in Australia is about $56,000. Salaries vary greatly depending on positions, but there is great scope to work your way up through an accounting department. It is important to note that salaries do vary between regions, with Sydney and Melbourne leading the way for entry level accounting salaries.

Training

Training varies from firm to firm. You can expect training ranging from on-the-job-training to more formal technical training in a class-style setup. You are likely to receive either formal or informal mentoring from senior accounting experts with the focus placed on getting well acquainted with accounting concepts. Smaller boutique firms will tend to have a more ‘on-the-job’ flexible approach to training, where as large firms will often have structured training programs for all graduates.

The Best Parts

  • It is intellectually rewarding due to the ever changing nature of accounting.
  • Accounting experts are highly regarded as a result of their ongoing learning.
  • There are exciting global opportunities. Some of the world’s most reputable firms including EY, PWC, Deloitte, and KPMG regularly have openings in offices across the globe.
  • The variety and optionality. A career in accounting can lead to roles in organisations of every size, and positions can range from entry to executive level across a range of specialisations.
  • Financial rewards are high as you progress up the career ladder.

The Limitations

Some of the constraints of working as an accounting expert:

  • It is demanding work with set deadlines and little room for error. Strong communication and interpersonal skills are essential.
  • There is little room for creative thinking in entry level accounting roles – there are rules you have to follow which are non-negotiable.
  • A career in accounting involves ongoing training and research to keep up with the evolving nature of the profession, which can be frustrating for some.

Choose accounting as a career if…

  • You have excellent communication skills
  • You are a team player
  • You have a high level of attention to details
  • You have excellent research and report writing skills
  • You enjoy research work, and you enjoy learning
  • You have a good eye for numbers