Accountants provide services relating to financial reporting, taxation, auditing, insolvency, accounting information systems, budgeting, cost management, planning and decision-making by organisations and individuals; and provide advice on associated compliance and performance requirements to ensure statutory and strategic governance.

A Bachelor Degree or higher, or at least 5 years of relevant experience is usually required. Four in five Accountants have a university degree. Additional certification may also be needed.

Tasks

  • assisting in formulating budgetary and accounting policies
  • preparing financial statements for presentation to boards of directors, management, shareholders, and governing and statutory bodies
  • conducting financial investigations, preparing reports, undertaking audits and advising on matters such as the purchase and sale of businesses, mergers, capital financing, suspected fraud, insolvency and taxation
  • examining operating costs and organisations' income and expenditure
  • providing assurance about the accuracy of information contained in financial reports and their compliance with statutory requirements
  • providing financial and taxation advice on business structures, plans and operations
  • preparing taxation returns for individuals and organisations
  • liaising with financial institutions and brokers to establish funds management arrangements
  • introducing and maintaining accounting systems, and advising on the selection and application of computer-based accounting systems
  • maintaining internal control systems
  • may appraise cash flow and financial risk of capital investment projects

Job Titles

  • Accountant (General)
  • Management or Cost Accountant
  • Taxation Accountant, Agent or Consultant
  • Accountant (General)

    Provides services relating to compliance-based financial reporting, auditing, insolvency and accounting information systems; and advises on associated record-keeping requirements. Registration or licensing may be required for certain services such as auditing.

    Specialisations: Financial Analyst, Insolvency Consultant, Insolvency Practitioner

  • Management or Cost Accountant

    Provides services relating to performance-based financial reporting, asset valuation, budgetary systems, cost management, pricing, forecasting and the strategic governance of organisations. Provides advice on financial planning, risk management, carbon sequestration projects and carbon pricing and provides management with reports to assist in decision-making. May provide insight into cost performance and support the implementation of benchmarking and quality improvement initiatives. Registration or licensing may be required.

    Specialisations: Carbon Accountant, Product Accountant

  • Taxation Accountant, Agent or Consultant

    Analyses, reports and provides advice on taxation issues to organisations or individuals, prepares taxation returns and reports, and handles disputes with taxation authorities. Registration or licensing may be required.

Fast Facts

  • Avg. Weekly Pay

    $1,400 Before Tax
  • Future Growth

    strong
  • Skill Level

    Bachelor Degree or higher
  • Employment Size

    188100
  • Unemployment

    below average
  • Male Share

    51.8%
  • Female Share

    48.2%
  • Full-Time Share

    80.6%

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This is a very large occupation employing 188,100 workers. Over the past 5 years the number of jobs has grown strongly.
Strong growth is expected in the future. New jobs and turnover from workers leaving may create more than 50,000 job openings over the 5 years to 2020.

  • Accountants work in most parts of Australia.
  • They mainly work in: Professional, Scientific and Technical Services; Financial and Insurance Services; and Manufacturing.
  • Full-time work is very common. Full-time workers, on average, work 39.6 hours per week (compared to the all jobs average of 40 hours).
  • Average earnings for full-time workers are around $1,400 per week (higher than the all jobs average of $1,230). Earnings tend to be lower when starting out and higher as experience grows.
  • The average age is 38 years (compared to the all jobs average of 40 years).
  • Around 5 in 10 workers are male.
  • In 2016, the unemployment rate was below average.

Employment Outlook

Number of Workers

Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, Department of Employment trend data to November 2015 and Department of Employment projections to 2020.
YearNumber of Workers
2005141300
2006146200
2007163800
2008164900
2009169000
2010163100
2011160600
2012165200
2013169700
2014185100
2015188100
2020219300

Weekly Earnings

Full-time Earnings

All Jobs Average

Weekly Earnings (before tax)

Source: Based on ABS Characteristics of Employment survey, August 2015, Cat. No. 6333.0, Customised Report. Median earnings are before tax and do not include superannuation. Earnings can vary greatly depending on the skills and experience of the worker and the demands of the role. These figures should be used as a guide only, not to determine a wage rate.
EarningsAccountantsAll Jobs Average
Full-Time Earnings14001230

Hours

Weekly Hours Worked

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Hours actually worked by people who usually work full-time, and share of employment by full-time and part-time status, for this job compared to the all jobs average.
CategoryAccountantsAll Jobs Average
Full-time80.668.4
Part-time19.431.6
Average Weekly Hours (full-time)39.640

Main Industries

Top Industries

Main Employing Industries (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Industries are based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC 06).
Main Employing IndustriesIndustry (% share)
Professional, Scientific and Technical Services48.2
Financial and Insurance Services10.9
Manufacturing5.7
Public Administration and Safety5.7
Other Industries29.5

States and Territories

  • NSW

  • VIC

  • QLD

  • SA

  • TAS

  • NT

  • ACT

Employment by State and Territory (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian States and Territories, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
StateAccountantsAll Jobs Average
NSW3831.8
VIC26.625.5
QLD17.519.8
SA5.56.8
WA9.211.2
TAS0.92
NT0.61.1
ACT1.81.8

Age Profile

Age Profile (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age BracketAccountantsAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
15-190.5-5.45.4
20-248-9.99.9
25-3432.4-23.423.4
35-4424.9-21.721.7
45-5417.9-21.121.1
55-595.8-8.78.7
60-646-5.95.9
65 and Over4.5-3.83.8

Gender

Male Share

Female Share

Gender (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Male and female share of employment in this job compared to the all jobs average.
CategoryAccountantsCategoryAll Jobs Average
Males51.8Males53.6
Females48.2Females46.4

Education Level

Top Education Levels

Highest Level of Education (% share)

Source: ABS, Education and Work (2016). Findings based on use of ABS TableBuilder data. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Skill level requirements can change over time, the qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.
Type of QualificationAccountantsAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate25.2-8.68.6
Bachelor degree56.9-17.917.9
Advanced Diploma/Diploma7.5-10.110.1
Certificate III/IV2.7-18.918.9
Year 126.4-18.718.7
Years 11 & 101.3-17.717.7
Below Year 100-8.18.1

A Bachelor Degree or higher, or at least 5 years of relevant experience is usually required. Four in five Accountants have a university degree. Additional certification may also be needed.

If you are interested in this style of work, there are a wide range of training options available that could lead to this or a similar job.
The pathway that is right for you will depend on your skills and interests.

It is a good idea to speak to industry bodies, employers, and workers to learn more about the skills and qualifications you will need.

Employers look for Accountants who can connect with others, communicate clearly and are well presented.

Knowledge

The topics, subjects, or knowledge areas workers rate as most important are shown below.

  1. Economics and Accounting

    90% Important

    Economics and accounting, the financial markets, banking and checking and reporting of financial data.

  2. Mathematics

    81% Important

    Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.

  3. English Language

    72% Important

    English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

  4. Computers and Electronics

    71% Important

    Circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.

  5. Clerical

    71% Important

    Word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office work.

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O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. The information on this site is derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2

Learn about the daily activities, and physical and social demands faced by workers. Explore the values and work styles that workers rate as most important.

Activities

The work activities workers rate as most important are shown below.

  1. Interacting With Computers

    92% Important

    Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.

  2. Processing Information

    91% Important

    Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or checking information or data.

  3. Getting Information

    88% Important

    Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.

  4. Checking Compliance with Standards

    86% Important

    Deciding whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.

  5. Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work

    80% Important

    Deciding on goals and putting together a detailed plan to get the work done.

Occupational Information Network Accountants Opens in a new window
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. The information on this site is derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2

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