Accountants get an unfair deal when it comes to stereotypes; there’s this notion that they’re loners who sit doing mathematical equations all day, but the reality is much brighter. Of course, accountants should have a solid grasp on mathematics, economics and business-related subjects, but they also need to be able to build rapport with a variety of people. After all, without excellent communication skills how can you be entrusted with a person’s financial accounts?
So, what do accounts do all day? They apply their expert knowledge in accounting across many disciplines, including financial and corporate accounting, taxation law, corporate planning, government, management accounting and taxation. The role involves analysing, interpreting, auditing, preparing reports and providing advice on financial information for individuals and organisations.
The work environment is as varied as the work and includes chartered accounting firms, large multinational organisations, private businesses, universities, government organisations (tax department, audit officer, treasury, local government), financial planning companies, investment companies and financial institutions (banks and building societies).
If this is music (mathematics?) to your ears, you’ll also be happy to know this occupation has strong future job growth, as reported by Job Outlook. So, is accounting the right direction for you?
Is It Right for Me?
Do you have a passion for mathematics, economics or business-related subjects? If so, this profession could be for you. As well as an interest in analysing and solving problems, you’ll need good organisational skills, excellent communication skills and have the ability to use discretion when dealing with sensitive information.
Key Skills and Attributes:
- Excellent communication skills
- Good presentation skills
- Able to build rapport with clients
- Professional and ethical
- Able to work as part of a team
Meet James Madden – Accountant Extraordinaire & Director of Madden Partners
James enjoys hanging out at cafés, flexible work hours, wearing pyjamas while working and spending time with his family. He wakes up each morning not knowing exactly how his day will play out. I suppose you could say he’s not your stereotypical, nine-to-five accountant!
Wear Pyjamas if You Want To
Madden says he doesn’t always need to get dressed for work in the morning. “There is now technology available that allows me to service clients from across the globe without even leaving the house! I’ve done more tax returns in pyjamas than anyone on the planet!”
Those Dreaded Deadlines
So, what’s the worst part about being an accountant? Madden says it’s definitely the deadlines! “Ah yes! The deadlines… When I started Madden Partners, my plan was to grow slowly to 1,000 individual tax returns (IRTs). I was going to do these in three or four months and spend the rest of the year sitting on the beach! The great thing about ITRs is, you do them and people go away for 12 months. Instead, in my first year, I have over 1,000 tax returns and a lot of these started businesses… so now, I have the tax returns which are due by a certain date and I have to lodge about 30 business activity statements (BAS) every three months.”
A Globe-Trotting Occupation
One of the perks of being a professional accountant is that there’s no shortage of places to work, according to Madden. “There are accounting jobs literally anywhere! Think of a place you want to live, then search on SEEK for “accounting jobs”. Something will come up!”
The Rules Keep Changing
When asked about the challenges he faces as an accountant, Madden says it’s keeping up with industry rules. “I work in taxation – the rules are constantly changing. There are always updates. I deal with this by subscribing to a number of specialist information providers who send monthly newsletters and have regular webinars.”
An Atypical Day is Typical
“The only typical part of my day is the morning! I get woken up by my daughter around six o’clock. We have breakfast and play till my wife gets back from the gym. I aim to be at my favourite cafe by 8 o’clock – usually I arrange to meet a client here, but if not, I answer my emails and say hello to the regulars.
“From here, I have no idea where the day will take me – I might have appointments lined up or tax returns on my “to do” list. Other times of the year, it might be quiet, and I can work for half a day and then head back and relax with my family.”
Study Bookkeeping and Accounting
Considering a career in accounting? Why not begin with a professional development program with Australian Online Courses? The Certificate of Bookkeeping is an excellent course for those wanting to set up a bookkeeping business; it’s also an ideal introduction to accounting as a profession. If you enjoy the learning experience you might feel confident to commit to a longer course of study in accounting.
Australian Online Courses offers hundreds of professional development courses, covering a variety of industries. All courses are industry-approved so you can rest assured your studies will provide work-ready skills and knowledge. You can also study by your own timetable using our state-of-the-art eLearning platform. Plus, there are no deadlines for assignments and your course won’t expire, so you set the pace. Talk to one of our friendly Learning Consultants today to find a course that’s right for you.