Accountant (general)

What they do

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).

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.

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.

How do I become one?

Education and training

To become an accountant, you usually need to study a degree in accounting. Most universities in Western Australia offer relevant courses. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.

From 1 January 2019 changes to the Corporations Amendment (Professional Standards of Financial Advisers) Act 2017 mandate that every person entering the profession of financial planning (i.e. financial advisers) must complete a minimum Bachelor degree approved by the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority. VET graduates may potentially have modified employment outcomes as they will no longer meet the licensing requirements to be employed as a financial planner, financial adviser or any occupation that directly provides financial planning/advisory advice to retail clients.

Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer, enabling you to complete training towards a nationally recognised qualification. You spend  time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider.

You can do an apprenticeship or traineeship if you are a school-leaver, re-entering the workforce or as an adult or mature-aged person wishing to change careers. You can even begin your apprenticeship or traineeship while you're still at school.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Required registration and licensing

To work as an accountant in Western Australia, you may need to obtain an Australian Financial Services (AFS) Licence from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), if you intend to provide financial services or advice on a financial product.

Find out more about licensing requirements from the ASIC website.