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Accountant (general)

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Summary of occupation

Accountants assist organisations, individuals and businesses by analysing and reporting on financial matters. Their duties might include providing advice on a company's efficiency after examining its running costs and profit margins, helping individual clients with their tax returns and lodgements, or conducting audits and investigations into businesses dealing with differing scenarios (such as bankruptcy, mergers, sales or acquisitions).

ANZSCO description: Plans and provides systems and services related to the financial dealings of organisations and individuals, and advises on associated record-keeping and compliance requirements (registration or licensing is required).
Alternative names: Finance Manager
Specialisations: Auditor, Financial Analyst, Forensic Accountant, Insolvency Practitioner, Investment Analyst, Liquidator and Receiver, Taxation Consultant
Job prospects: Good
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

An accountant needs:

  • strong communication skills
  • good mathematical ability
  • problem-solving skills
  • to be professional, responsible and discrete
  • good attention to detail
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Working conditions

Although accountants work primarily in an office environment during business hours, during busier periods or when dealing with a financial crisis they may need to work much later hours in order to successfully manage complex situations and procedures.

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Salary details

On average, accountants can expect to earn between $1 500 and $1 999 per week ($78 000 and $103 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As an accountant develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.

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Tools and technologies

Accountants work mainly with computerised financial software and programs so it is important that they remain up-to-date with this type of technology. Calculations, statistics and monetary figures are significant to accountants so spreadsheets and databases are used on a daily basis to help organise and store important information. Accountants also need to keep up-to-date with Australian tax laws, as even minor changes may be of significant impact to a client.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become an accountant, you usually need to complete a bachelor degree majoring in accounting. All Western Australian universities offer degrees in this field. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.​

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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Accountants assist organisations, individuals and businesses by analysing and reporting on complex financial matters.

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