Life as an Accountant - Job Description

Ever wondered what it's like to work as an Accountant? Read our Accountant job description post which outlines responsibilities, salary expectations and more!

If you’ve ever filed a tax return or worked for a business with its own accounts department, chances are you’ve either directly or indirectly dealt with an accountant at some point. In fact virtually any commercial enterprise or organisation that generates revenue and pays expenses requires the attention-to-detail and business acumen of an accountant. According to the Government’s Job Outlook Initiative, in 2013 there were more than 172,000 practicing accountants in Australia. This popular profession includes a range of responsibilities such as:

·         Preparing budgets for clients business and/or organisations
·         Preparing assets, liabilities and capital account entries for clients
·         Recommending financial strategies for clients based on their current    
accounts/financial status

·         Summarising and reporting on the current financial status of client accounts on a weekly, monthly, quarterly, bi-annual or annual (financial year) basis
·         Implementing expenditure controls on client accounts, based on analysis of their financial needs and strategy
·         Reconciling discrepancies between clients financial accounts
·         Completing tax returns for individual taxpayers and organisations at the end of the financial year
·         Providing individual financial advice
·         Maintaining confidentiality and accuracy of clients financial information
·         Maintaining professional and technical knowledge by attending regular industry workshops, keeping up-to-date with industry news and upgrading relevant qualifications

Working as an Accountant – What Attributes and Skills are Required? 

To work as an accountant first requires an interest in numbers and basic mathematical proficiency, as the field of accounting is highly technical and revolves around performing calculations on a daily basis. Secondly, you must possess a high level of attention-to-detail; when you’re dealing with finances even the smallest miscalculation could negatively impact a client’s entire account and throw their finances into disarray. A good knowledge of financial reporting, tax compliance, bookkeeping and Microsoft Excel is essential.

Salary Expectations

According to, the average annual salary for an Accountant is $54,600. This figure will depend on your age, experience, the accounting firm you work for and the city in which you work (salaries are on average higher in Sydney and Melbourne compared to the rest of the country). The salary range for accountants in Australia is approximately $51,000 for an entry-level role to an average of $80,000+ for accounting professionals with years of experience.

Courses and Training

To work as an accountant, you must first complete a bachelor of accounting or a Commerce degree that includes accounting subjects, as a minimum. Although not completely necessary to practice as an accountant in Australia, it is highly recommended for accounting undergraduate students to complete the CPA (Chartered Practicing Accountant) program in addition to their bachelor degree or as an additional 3-year work placement program following graduation from university. Achieving the CPA qualification is viewed as being the mark of a true accounting professional that possesses depth, breadth and soundness of industry knowledge.

Future Career Paths

As well as helping business and organisations big or small to manage their financial resources on an ongoing basis, accountants are often asked to share their opinion on broader strategic questions regarding the long-term future of their client’s financial operations. As a result, accountants are well qualified to move into higher level Management and Executive roles, with many using their experience to become Managing Directors, CFO’s (Chief Financial Officer) and even CEO’s. If accountants want to stay in the field, they can become a Management or Senior Accountant. Another key benefit of an accounting qualification is its universality, with accounting professionals able to move overseas and apply their skills and experience to virtually any industry. 

Are you interested in working as an accountant? Check out our vacant accounting positions nationwide.


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