Job market outlook
Accounting and advisory is expected to grow strongly overall in response to the continuing recovery efforts from the global financial crisis, the increasing globalisation of big business, and a renewed focus on corporate scandal avoidance.
Companies are engaging more accountants in-house and through the services of firms for advice on trimming fat from the bottom line in the new, more competitive global economy. An increase in private capital expenditure has given a shot in the arm to firms as well, thanks to the boosted need for audit and due diligence services ahead of expenditure.
Data analytics offerings have become a new revenue stream for accountancy firms, particularly for small businesses who are better placed to pay for a product than an accountancy firm’s retainer. Grads with strong technology skills will be well-placed to work across both products and services, increasing their employability.
How to get hired
Larger firms tend to hire graduates who have already taken part in vacation or ‘taster’ programs, so landing a spot is a crucial way to get your foot in the door and get noticed.
Having in-depth knowledge about an employer will not only impress recruiters, it will provide you the opportunity to find out whether you genuinely would enjoy working at an organisation. There are lots of ways to find out more about employers to get a more realistic understanding of what their working life is really like. One easy way is to log on to www.gradaustralia.com.au and check out our graduate reviews, and set up a Google News alert to send you a notification when your preferred employers are mentioned in the news so you can stay abreast of movements and issues.
All types of organisations recruit graduates as accountants, and many degree disciplines are accepted (though having a finance background can mean exemption from some exams down the track). If you’d prefer to work for a smaller organisation, set out on your own or simply missed out on an opportunity with a large firm there are still plenty of opportunities through networking on LinkedIn, applying directly to businesses of your choosing, or getting yourself set up as a sole trader.
Key skills you need
Love of learning
Graduates with a focus on excellence in continuing professional development will thrive in the new economy, as the accounting industry experiences a strong push to converge accounting standards on a global level. New practices, techniques and standards are released on an almost daily basis.
Having problem-solving abilities is useful in most professions, but especially in accounting — particularly management and forensic accounting, when you need to be able to provide practical advice to organisations relying on your skills to keep themselves from getting into murky waters.
A key recruitment metric employers tell us they utilise time and again is extracurricular activity. Employers favour candidates who not only perform well academically, but have diverse interests in sports or community service initiatives, seeing it as a marker of a well-rounded personality and healthy approach to work and play.
Accounting is an important job with lots of transactional data and key dates to keep track of. In order to do your job well, you’ll need to function like a well-oiled machine. Understanding and making use of the tools available to you – things like calendar apps and folder systems – will allow you to create a reputation for being reliable and well-ordered.
Accountants don’t just hide behind mountains of documents. Aside from teamwork being integral to your success within a company, accounting relies on constant interaction with clients as you conduct audits, request financial information and present your findings to what can be very high-level people.
Think numbers are an accountant’s only friend? Guess again. Accounting is a team-focused discipline, with many graduates starting as members of a small team conducting audits or creating reports. What’s more, your ability to interact effectively with clients will often determine the speed and success of a project.
Alternatives to accounting and advisory
If you’re considering accounting and advisory, you might also like to consider…