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

  • $1,400 Weekly Pay
  • 199,200 workers Employment Size
  • Moderate Future Growth
  • Very high skill Skill level rating
  • Average unemployment Unemployment
  • 81.5% Full-Time Full-Time Share
  • 39.6 hours Average full-time
  • 38 years Average age
  • 48.2% female Gender Share

The number of Accountants grew very strongly over the past 5 years and is expected to grow over the next 5 years:
from 199,200 in 2018 to 207,200 by 2023.
Job openings can come from new jobs being created, but most come from turnover (workers leaving).
There are likely to be around 84,000 job openings over 5 years (that's about 16,800 a year).

  • Size: This is a very large occupation.
  • Unemployment: Unemployment was average in 2017.
  • Location: Accountants work in most regions of Australia.
  • Industries: Most work in Professional, Scientific and Technical Services; Financial and Insurance Services; and Public Administration and Safety.
  • Earnings: Full-time workers earn 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.
  • Full-time: Most work full-time (81.5%, much higher than the all jobs average of 68.4%).
  • Hours: Full-time workers spend around 39.6 hours per week at work (compared to the all jobs average of 40.0 hours).
  • Age: The average age is 38 years (compared to the all jobs average of 40 years).
  • Gender: 48.2% of workers are female (compared to the all jobs average of 46.7%).

Employment Outlook

Number of Workers

Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, Department of Jobs and Small Business trend data to May 2018 and Department of Jobs and Small Business projections to 2023.
YearNumber of Workers
2008163800
2009163400
2010168500
2011161600
2012164700
2013164500
2014182200
2015188500
2016183000
2017183600
2018199200
2023207200

Weekly Earnings

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

Main Industries

Main Employing Industries (% Share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2017, 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 Services48.5
Financial and Insurance Services10.3
Public Administration and Safety5.5
Manufacturing5.0
Other Industries30.7

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 2017, 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
NSW39.331.6
VIC27.626.2
QLD15.319.7
SA5.56.7
WA9.010.8
TAS0.82.0
NT0.61.1
ACT2.01.8

Age Profile

Age Profile (% Share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2017, 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
15-190.3-5.25.2
20-246.2-9.99.9
25-3431.9-23.623.6
35-4428.4-21.721.7
45-5418.0-20.820.8
55-596.9-8.88.8
60-643.7-6.06.0
65 and Over4.6-4.04.0

Education Level

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.

Before starting a course, check it will provide you with the skills and qualifications you need.

  • Compare undergraduate and postgraduate student experiences and outcomes on the QILT website.
  • Compare Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses, providers and student outcomes on the My Skills website.
  • You might be interested in Financial Services VET training pathways on the AAPathways website.

The course listings on this page are provided by Good Education Group.

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

Knowledge

These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.

  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.

Occupational Information Network
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 13-2011.01 - Accountants.

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

These are kinds of activities workers regularly do in this job.

  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
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 13-2011.01 - Accountants.

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