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All Articles / Accounting and Bookkeeping

Type of Accountants and Accounting Courses

Types of Accountants, Opportunities, Duties, Salaries and more

1. Chartered Accountant

Average salary: $95,250 ($87,500 – $115,000) (source)

Demand: 100+ current vacancies (source), with annual growth ~9.2% (source).

Duties: Chartered Accountants undertake a wide range of duties, from auditing, taxation, and financial reporting to strategic planning and business consulting. They are adept at analysing financial statements, ensuring compliance with financial regulations, and providing advice on risk management and business improvement strategies. Their role often extends beyond traditional accounting functions, involving leadership in financial decision-making and business strategy.

Skills / experience required: To become a Chartered Accountant in Australia, individuals must complete a rigorous education and training program, including obtaining a recognised accounting degree, completing the Chartered Accountants Program, and gaining practical experience under the mentorship of a qualified Chartered Accountant. Essential skills include strong analytical abilities, attention to detail, excellent communication, and ethical judgement. Experience in accounting software and understanding of business operations are also valuable. Continuous professional development is required to maintain the designation and keep up with industry changes.

Courses: As mentioned above, you’ll need to get a Bachelor of Accounting to become a chartered accountant, as well as completing the CA program.

If you’re looking for a pathway to a full degree program that still leaves your options open, Monarch Institute can help. Our Diploma and Advanced Diploma of Accounting course are nationally recognised, and may help you get advanced standing (credit) when you’re ready to apply for a full degree. Chat to one of our friendly Course Consultants to learn more about how this works.

“If you’re looking for a career that’s not only fulfilling but also future-proof, accounting is definitely worth considering”

-John Deininger, CA and Monarch Trainer

2. Tax accountant

Average salary: $100,000 ($84,667 – $132,500) (source)

Demand: 150+ current vacancies (source)

Duties: The primary duties of tax accountants include preparing and filing tax returns, calculating tax liabilities, and ensuring timely payment of taxes. They stay abreast of changes in tax laws and advise clients on the implications of these changes for personal and business finances. Tax accountants also assist with tax audits, negotiate with the ATO, and provide strategic tax planning services to minimise tax liabilities and ensure compliance. They often work closely with other financial professionals to integrate tax strategies with broader financial planning.

Skills / experience required: Key skills for tax accountants include a deep understanding of Australian tax laws and regulations, proficiency in tax preparation software, and strong analytical skills to interpret and apply tax legislation effectively. They must have excellent attention to detail to ensure accuracy in tax filings and calculations. Strong communication skills are essential for explaining complex tax concepts to clients and negotiating with tax authorities. Experience in tax planning and advisory roles, as well as staying updated on changes in tax legislation, is also important for success in this field. Continuous professional development is necessary to keep up with the evolving tax landscape.

Courses: Most tax accountants have a Bachelor of Accounting, with further qualifications or certifications in tax accounting. That’s because it’s a fairly specialised area – there’s a lot of legislation and regulation to learn!

However, if you’re interested in tax and helping individuals (or small businesses) with their taxes, there are other pathways you can take. With a Diploma of Accounting and a Tax Agent Certification Course at Monarch Institute, you’ll be on your way to becoming a registered tax agent with the ATO.

3. Management accountant

Average salary: $108,459 ($94,848 – $130,000) (source)

Demand: 250+ current vacancies (source)

Duties: The core duties of management accountants involve the preparation and analysis of financial reports for internal use by management. This includes budgeting, forecasting, and variance analysis to understand financial performance and inform business decisions. Management accountants also play a key role in cost analysis and management, helping to identify areas where efficiency can be improved and costs reduced. They are involved in strategic planning, providing insights and financial advice that influence the long-term direction and profitability of the organisation. Furthermore, they may be involved in risk management, internal audits, and the development of financial controls to safeguard the organisation’s assets.

Skills / experience required: To excel as a management accountant, individuals typically need a combination of formal education and practical experience. A bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, or a related field is generally required, and many management accountants also hold advanced certifications such as the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) designation.
Key skills include strong analytical and problem-solving abilities, proficiency in financial modelling and analysis, and a thorough understanding of accounting principles and financial reporting standards. Management accountants must also possess excellent communication skills, as they often need to explain complex financial information in a clear and concise manner to non-financial managers. Experience with enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems and financial analysis software is highly valuable. Additionally, successful management accountants are proactive, strategic thinkers who can anticipate future financial trends and challenges and advise on appropriate courses of action. Continuous professional development is important in this field to stay abreast of new accounting standards, technologies, and business practices.

Courses: Management accounting doesn’t require any particular certifications. Many management accountants have a degree, but there are also several who help business owners using a combination of their Certificate or Diploma qualifications, plus lived experience in business and entrepreneurship. If this sounds like your kind of pathway, check out our accounting courses page for more info on how to get started.

4. Government accountant

Average salary: $104,530 ($52,000-$159,000) (State-based example: NSW [source])

Demand: 70+ current vacancies (National) (source)

Duties: The primary duties of government accountants involve maintaining and examining the records of government agencies, auditing private businesses and individuals whose activities fall under government regulation or taxation, and overseeing the allocation and use of public funds. They prepare financial statements and reports to communicate the financial position and performance of government entities. These accountants also play a crucial role in budgeting, helping to plan and allocate resources effectively to meet the objectives of government programs and services. Additionally, they may be involved in conducting financial audits, ensuring compliance with financial regulations and standards, and identifying areas for financial improvement and efficiency within government operations.

Skills / experience required: Government accountants typically require a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, or a related field. Some positions may also require a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation or other relevant certifications.
Essential skills for government accountants include a strong understanding of accounting principles and practices, as well as knowledge of government financial legislation and regulations. They must be adept at using various accounting and financial software tools. Attention to detail is crucial for ensuring accuracy in financial reporting and compliance with regulations. Government accountants must also possess analytical skills to assess financial operations and recommend improvements. Effective communication skills are important for explaining complex financial information to non-financial stakeholders and for working collaboratively within government teams. Experience in government accounting or auditing, familiarity with government financial systems, and ongoing professional development are key for success and advancement in this field.

Courses: As mentioned above, most government accountants (compared to other specialisations) have degree qualifications. If you’re looking for a pathway into this field that doesn’t involve heading straight to uni, a Diploma of Accounting may be right for you.

5. Public accountant

Average salary: $95,000 ($80,000 – $118,738) [source])

Demand: 600+ current vacancies (source)

Duties: The primary duties of public accountants include preparing and examining financial records to ensure accuracy, compliance, and that they are free from any misrepresentations. They may conduct audits, which involve reviewing an organisation’s financial statements and the processes behind them to ensure they are presented fairly and in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. Public accountants also provide tax services, which include preparing tax returns, advising on tax strategies to minimise liabilities, and ensuring compliance with tax laws. In addition, they may offer advisory services, helping clients with financial planning, risk management, and business process improvements. Public accountants often specialise in specific areas, such as forensic accounting, where they investigate financial discrepancies and fraud.

Skills / experience required: To excel in public accounting, individuals typically need a bachelor’s degree in accounting. Many also pursue professional certifications.

Essential skills for public accountants include strong analytical abilities to scrutinise financial documents for accuracy and legal compliance, attention to detail, and proficiency in accounting software and systems. They must have excellent communication skills to convey complex financial information clearly to clients and stakeholders. Ethical judgment and integrity are paramount, given the trust placed in them by clients and the public. Public accountants should be adaptable, able to manage multiple projects and deadlines, and keep abreast of changes in laws and regulations affecting their field. Experience in public accounting firms or relevant internships can provide practical skills and deepen understanding of the field’s complexities. Continuous professional development is crucial to maintain certifications and stay current with accounting standards and technologies.

Courses: If you’re looking to get a taste for different specialisations or fields of practice within public accounting, a Certificate IV in Accounting and Bookkeeping could be right for you. This intro-level nationally recognised qualification covers a wide range of tasks and responsibilities.

6. Auditor

Average salary: $100,008 ($84,456 – $127,648) (source)

Demand: 1,900+ current vacancies (source)

Duties: The primary duties of auditors involve examining an organisation’s financial statements to ensure they are accurate, complete, and in accordance with accounting standards. They assess financial operations and ensure organisations run efficiently by identifying areas of risk and recommending improvements to internal controls. Auditors conduct tests on financial data to verify the reliability and integrity of financial information and to ensure that financial practices are in compliance with relevant laws and regulations. They prepare audit reports that provide an objective assessment of the financial statements and highlight any issues or discrepancies identified during the audit process. Auditors may work internally within an organisation (internal auditors) or externally as part of an independent audit firm (external auditors).

Skills / experience required: Auditors typically require a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, or a related field. Professional certifications, such as Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), are highly valued and may be required for certain positions.

Key skills for auditors include a strong understanding of accounting principles and auditing standards, attention to detail, and analytical thinking to evaluate complex financial data and systems. They must possess excellent problem-solving skills to identify issues and recommend solutions. Auditors should have strong communication skills to articulate findings and recommendations clearly to various stakeholders. Integrity and ethical judgment are crucial in maintaining the profession’s standards and public trust. Proficiency in accounting and auditing software, along with a willingness to stay updated on industry changes, technological advancements, and evolving regulatory environments, is essential. Practical experience through internships or previous audit roles can provide valuable insights and enhance an auditor’s effectiveness.

Courses: If you think auditing might be for you, the Advanced Diploma of Accounting includes several units that introduce you to key aspects of audit practice, like FNSACC634 Monitor corporate governance activities.

7. Financial accountant

Average salary: $105,464 ($93,816 – $125,962) (source)

Demand: 450+ current vacancies (source)

Duties: The primary duties of financial accountants include compiling and analysing financial information to prepare financial statements, including monthly and annual accounts. They ensure that financial records are maintained in compliance with accepted policies and procedures and legal requirements.
Financial accountants are responsible for preparing tax returns and ensuring the payment of all taxes. They also analyse financial data to identify trends, perform variance analysis, and provide financial insights that contribute to strategic decision-making. In addition, they may be involved in implementing and monitoring internal controls to safeguard company assets and ensure the integrity of financial information. In these duties, the job title ‘financial accountant’ can overlap with other roles such as financial controller, bookkeeper, cost accountant, and even CFO (chief financial officer) in smaller organisations.

Skills / experience required: Essential skills for financial accountants include a strong foundation in accounting principles and financial reporting standards, proficiency in accounting software and systems, and the ability to analyse and interpret financial data accurately. Attention to detail is crucial for ensuring the accuracy of financial reports. Financial accountants must also have excellent communication skills to convey financial information clearly to individuals with varying levels of financial expertise. Ethical judgment and professional integrity are vital, given the role’s impact on financial transparency and trust. Experience in financial accounting roles, along with ongoing professional development, is important to navigate the complexities of financial regulations and accounting standards effectively.

Courses: The Advanced Diploma of Accounting could be for you if you’re interested in a variety of financial accounting work, but you’re not ready for a full degree program. In this nationally recognised qualification, you’ll cover essential topics including interpreting and using financial statistics and tools, and applying economic principles to your work.

5 types of accounting jobs you’ve (probably) never heard of

1. Political campaign accounting
A political campaign accountant plays a crucial role in the financial management and regulatory compliance of political campaigns. Their primary duties involve overseeing the campaign’s budget, ensuring that all financial transactions are accurately recorded and reported in accordance with campaign finance laws. They are responsible for managing contributions and expenditures, maintaining detailed financial records, and preparing financial reports that must be submitted to regulatory bodies, such as the Australian Election Commission. Read more from the AEC about campaign finance compliance.
Political campaign accountants also play a key role in developing financial strategies to optimise the use of campaign funds, ensuring that spending aligns with campaign priorities and legal limits. Additionally, they advise campaign managers on financial matters, help in setting fundraising goals, and ensure that all financial practices adhere to ethical standards and legal requirements.

2. International accounting
An international accountant specialises in managing the financial operations and strategies of businesses that operate across national borders. Their duties encompass a broad range of tasks critical for international financial management, including the conversion of foreign currencies, managing exchange rate risks, and ensuring compliance with various international tax laws and accounting standards. They are responsible for preparing and analysing financial statements that accurately reflect the company’s international operations, and they must navigate the complexities of cross-border transactions and multinational financial reporting.
International accountants also play a pivotal role in strategic planning, advising on the financial implications of international expansion, mergers, acquisitions, and foreign investments. They collaborate closely with financial teams across different countries to ensure cohesive financial strategies and compliance with both Australian and international financial regulations.

4. Project accountant
A project accountant plays a specialised role in managing the financial aspects of projects within an organisation. Their primary duties include setting up project accounts, preparing budgets, and monitoring project expenditures against budgets to ensure financial efficiency and profitability. They are responsible for financial reporting on project performance, including cost analysis, profitability analysis, and variance analysis, to provide insights into the financial health of projects.
Project accountants also work closely with project managers to forecast future project expenditures and to make financial recommendations that can influence project decisions and outcomes. They ensure that all financial transactions related to projects are accurately recorded and comply with accounting standards and internal policies.

5. Fiduciary accounting
A fiduciary accountant is entrusted with managing the financial aspects of trusts, estates, and other fiduciary entities, ensuring the utmost integrity and compliance with legal and ethical standards. Their key duties involve maintaining accurate records of financial transactions, preparing and filing required tax returns, and producing detailed accounting reports that outline the financial activities and status of the fiduciary entity.

They are responsible for ensuring that all financial actions taken are in the best interest of the beneficiaries or parties the fiduciary entity serves. This includes the proper allocation and distribution of assets, income, and disbursements in accordance with the terms of the trust or estate. Fiduciary accountants also provide financial advice and guidance to trustees or executors, assisting them in making informed decisions that fulfill their duties while adhering to legal obligations.

How to become an accountant

There are lots of different ways that successful accountants kick off their careers. Whilst most statistically have degrees, it’s common to start studying at a Certificate or Diploma level, and build up from there. Many accountants do internships or work in accounting firms in related roles, such as administration, before studying. If you’re ready to take the next step by studying, here’s what you can do.

1. Choose a type of course
If you haven’t studied in a long time, or need flexibility, or want to keep your options open, a Diploma of Accounting could be a good choice for you.

2. Investigate providers
Monarch is one of Australia’s most highly rated online learning institutions for accounting students. Check out our Trustpilot reviews to see why students love learning with us.

3. Speak to a Course Consultant
If you’re not sure what’s the best way forward for you, it’s a good idea to get personalised advice. That’s where our friendly Course onsultants can help.

4. Get your qualification
You could have your qualification within a matter of months. You’ll have up to 24 months to complete a Diploma on a schedule that suits you.

5. Your first job (or further learning)
Once you’ve got your nationally recognised qualification, you can look for entry-level graduate roles, or consider further study at uni.

Becoming a Registered BAS Agent

BAS agents are officially recognised professionals able to assist in determining taxation obligations of a business in reporting BAS items to the ATO. With recent changes to legislation, it is a legal obligation that BAS agents are officially registered with the TPB. A requirement of this registration is officially recognised qualifications.

Study to become a registered BAS Agent

Before allowing registration, the TPB requires applicants to have undertaken at least a Certificate IV in Accounting and Bookkeeping. Within this qualification, students must have studied certain units to be allowed to register as a BAS agent.

Want to know more about study options and pathways to becoming an accountant? Check out our main article on what it’s like to work as an accountant, plus the most common pathways to a career in accounting. If you’re ready to look at a course, head to our accounting and bookkeeping courses page, or get in touch with one of our friendly Course Consultants to discuss your options.

More Online Courses

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