Getting a graduate position in a field so vast and competitive can be difficult. Choosing a graduate job in the accounting field requires education, formal certification and a firm commitment to learning the trade.
There’s definitely a lot more than crunching numbers on a calculator. In order to successfully have an accounting career, there is a certain level of experience and study you’ll need to become qualified and nationally recognised.
What are you going to specialise in?
Very few accountants are generalists, most of them would be specialised in one industry or in one aspect of the business. Therefore, experience or degree with a concentrated coursework with a focus in a particular specialty may be partly what employers look for when recruiting graduate accountants.
1. University Education
Most accountancy positions require at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field, such as Bachelor of Accounting, Commerce, and Business. With these degrees being so broad, it’s a good idea to plan which subjects you will be undertaking to pursue a specific career goal. Your choice of subjects in your relevant course along with your marks will influence your goals and chances of pursuing different specialisations.
If you are looking for a shorter accounting study instead, then an accounting diploma program will help to build on your basic accounting knowledge and skills to provide a solid foundation for your next career move. By completing a specialist course on your choice, you would be able to gain exposure to accounting skills such as bookkeeping, accounts receivable/payable and payroll processing just to name a few.
After undertaking an appropriate education, gaining accreditation is needed. Find out what you must tackle for your accounting career. These accreditation require an exam to sit or minimum years of experience to apply. Australia’s accounting industry is regulated and accredited by three professional accounting bodies:
You can join as a member of IPA if you meet one of the below entry requirements.
- Qualifications and experience:
- Eligible accounting qualification (see AIPA requirement) + a post-graduate accounting qualification assessed to be equivalent to the IPA Program Stage 1 and
- Industry experience assessed to be equivalent to the Mentored Experience Program (MEP) completion/full exemption; OR
- Current membership with an IFAC Member level body, IPA MIPA level equivalent(additional requirements may apply in certain jurisdictions due to local legislative requirements).
Please refer toIPA website for further information regarding membership: https://www.publicaccountants.org.au/become-a-member/membership-pathways
To join this body, you will need to complete the CA Program and must hold a degree, or a postgraduate award recognised by ICAA. The CA program is comprised of the Graduate Diploma of Chartered Accounting and, three years of approved and mentored practical experience.
Please refer to CA ANZ Australia website for further information regarding membership of CA ANZ: https://www.charteredaccountantsanz.com/become-a-member
To join this body, a member must hold a degree, or a postgraduate award recognised by CPA Australia. You must complete the CPA Program, including three years of professional experience in finance, accounting or business.
Without a sound knowledge of the correct accreditation to pursue, attaining a potential graduate position and prospects will be difficult and messy. For more information, contact any of the organisations listed above.
Please refer to CPA Australia website for further information regarding membership of CPA Australia: https://www.cpaaustralia.com.au/become-a-cpa
Get the internships experience
As competition for jobs has exponentially increased within the last few years, you need to think of new ways to help stand out from all the other equally qualified and knowledgeable candidates.
Having experience brings a lot to the table as a candidate for an accounting graduate position. Find a company that aligns with your career goals in what you would like to specialise in. Interning during your education will help you not only gain more credibility as a graduate when seeking jobs but also deepen your understanding of the various aspects of accounting and workplace culture.
Some of the universities in Australia include internship within the coursework, and some of the training providers also offer internship programs to international students. So next time you’re on a summer break or gap year, you might want to consider to do a meaningful internship to boost up your future career.
Researching employer is one of the most efficient ways to become a stand out candidate during the recruitment process. Whether it is one of the big four accounting firms or a finance department within an organisation, each employer will have their unique company culture and benefits.
So what are the places you should go to research your potential employers? The good news is that it’s easier than ever before to learn about an employer. Firstly, start your research by visiting the company’s website including its service or products as well as the culture, mission and value. Then, tap into the social media such as company Facebook Page and LinkedIn account. This will give you a good understanding of how the company wants its customers to see it.
Keep in mind no application should be the same. Each business will have its unique values and mission, so using one generic application is worthless, if it does not cater to the requirement of the role.Understand your objective from the start and determine what you would like to gain from the role, and never rush an application.
Be prepared for your interview
There are thousands of interviews questions a potential employer could ask you. But they are most likely narrowing down to variations on these two meta questions:
- Do you have the right skill sets for the role you apply for?
- Do you have the character traits that will make you the best fit for the team and company?
If you have put in the effort to know the business, then displaying your eagerness to join them as an accounting graduate should be easy. You should also try and consider some responses to potential questions you will be asked during the interview.
A list of question that can be asked include:
- Why do you choose to work in Accounting field?
- Give an example of when you had to work as part of a team.
- How do you manage high-stress environments?
It is also crucial to brush up on your accounting knowledge as practical accounting questions can be asked. You will be able to present yourself confidently in an interview if you are equipped with the required practical skills for the role. Some examples include but not limited to:
- What methods have you used for estimating bad debt?
- How do you evaluate the reliability of the financial data you obtain?
- Which accounting applications and software are you familiar with?
The key to success in an interview is practice, so be sure to check out our recent blog – 8 Common Accounting Graduate Job Interview Questions to learn more about why these questions are important for employers to ask and how to answer them correctly.
Need help with securing a graduate position?
Whether it is to brush up your accounting knowledge or gaining practical software skills, BLC Training and Internship is the one stop solution for all.
At BLC, we have helped many accounting graduates, skilled migrants to kick start their dream career in Australia. Discover how BLC Training and Internship can help you with your Accounting career today.
If you would like to find out more or require training on accounting software like Xero and MYOB, we are here to help. Get in touch with one of our friendly staff members to book a free trial class today!