Accountant

Office and Administration

Accounts Clerk
Bookkeeper

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Clerical or OrganisingAnalytic or ScientificSkill Level 4Skill Level 5

Accountants analyse, report and give advice on the operations and affairs of businesses and individuals.    FutureGrowthModerate

Accountants work for a variety of organisations, from families, retail outlets,
banks and accounting firms, to rock bands or sporting organisations. They may work on their own or with other accountants.
 

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:

Budget Accountant
A budget accountant primarily concerned with the development and maintenance of budgeting systems. This involves monitoring budgets and comparing them with actual costs and revenues. They analyse records to determine trends, which assists in managerial control.

Bursar
A bursar responsible for the accounting and general business operation of schools or tertiary institutions. This may include fundraising.

Cost Accountant
A cost accountant develops and directs systems so that costs can be recorded and analysed to work out each unit cost. This involves analysing changes that affect production costs (e.g. raw materials, manufacturing methods, factory overheads and wages). They provide management with reports to assist in decision-making about production volumes, sale prices and additions or deletions to product lines and/or manufacturing or distribution resources.

Financial Analyst

Forensic Accountant
A forensic accountant analyses and prepares accounting documents for use as evidence, often for a court of law.

Insolvency Practitioner

Investment Analyst
An investment analyst evaluates the value of companies for potential buyers and investors, and investigates businesses being sold, bought or merged. Liquidator

Liquidator and Receiver
A liquidator and receiver assists and advises
businesses in financial difficulties, organises company closures in line with legal requirements and, in the case of bankruptcies, sells assets.

Systems Accountant
A systems accountant analyses financial information
needs for organisations by reviewing existing systems and working out the best way to meet those needs.

Taxation Consultant/Taxation Agent
A taxation consultant/taxation agent prepares taxation returns and reports, provides advice on tax issues and handles disputes with taxation authorities. Tax Agent

Treasurer
A treasurer plans short- and long-term finance and advises on
the financial consequences. They design and manage investment portfolios to minimise financial risk
.

Knowledge, skills and attributes Accountant with calculator

An accountant needs:

  • strong communication skills

  • good presentation skills

  • able to build rapport with clients

  • good organisational skills

  • good mathematical ability

  • problem-solving skills

  • to be professional, ethical, responsible and discretion when dealing with confidential information

  • good attention to detail

  • able to work as part of a team.

Duties and Tasks

Accountants may perform the following tasks:

  • assist in the formulation of budgetary and accounting policies

  • prepare financial statements for presentation to boards of directors, management, shareholders and statutory bodies

  • conduct financial investigations, undertake audits, prepare reports and advise on such matters as the purchase and sale of businesses, mergers, financing, suspected fraud, insolvency and taxation

  • examine the income and expenditure of institutions

  • provide assurance about the accuracy of information contained in financial reports and their compliance with statutory requirements

  • provide financial and taxation advice on business structures, plans and operations

  • liaise with bankers and brokers to establish funds management arrangements

  • advise on the selection and application of computer-based accounting systems

  • appraise cash flow and financial risk of investment projects.

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.

Accountants may work on their own or with other accountants. Accountants in private practice have a high level of public contact. Some positions involve travel, which is often interstate or overseas.

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.

Education and training/entrance requirements

To become an accountant, you usually need to complete a bachelor degree majoring in accounting.
The qualifications required to become an accountant depend on the type of accountant you want to be.  

 

Did You Know?

John Grisham, famous mystery novelist, received his undergraduate degree in accounting from Mississippi State University.


John Grisham


Luca Pacioli wrote the first book on double entry accounting in 1494. He is frequently referred to as the father of accounting. Paciolo is still a hot commodity today. His portrait was featured in the movie The Spanish Prisoner.

Luca Pacioli
Portrait of Luca Pacioli, traditionally attributed to Jacopo de' Barbari, 1495
(Source: Fun Facts and Famous Accountants)


Accountant Judge

Secretary

Officer Administrator

IT Analyst

Management Consultant

Marketing Officer

Graphic Designer

Lawyer

Corporate Trainer

Archivist

Illustrator

Army Officer

Interpreter

Private Investigator

Games Developer

Librarian

Security Consultant

Coroner

Border Force Officer

Receptionist

Publisher

Bank Officer

Sports Administrator

Call Centre Operator

Marketing Research Analyst

Hospital Administrator

Multimedia Specialist

WHS Officer

Web Designer

Judge

Personal Assistant

Officer Administrator

Accountant

IT Analyst

Management Consultant

Marketing Officer

Graphic Designer

Lawyer

Corporate Trainer

Archivist

Illustrator

Army Officer

Interpreter

Private Investigator

Games Developer

Librarian

Security Consultant

Coroner

Border Force Officer

Receptionist

Publisher

Bank Officer

Sports Administrator

Call Centre Operator

Marketing Research Analyst

Hospital Administrator

Multimedia Specialist

WHS Officer

Web Designer

Electorate Officer

Medical Administrator

Nurse Manager

Auditor

Sports Centre Manager

Judge

Personal Assistant