Accounting Career Path Options

23/10/17

So you’ve completed your accounting qualification and it’s time to enter the job market – but what career paths are there available?

There are a wide variety of options available to you if you have a degree in accounting. Generally, the type of job that you enter into will depend on your own interests and personal areas of strength.

Below are some typical accounting job categories.

 

  • Accounting Systems & IT 
  • Accounts Payable 
  • Accounts Receivable/Credit Control
  • Analysis, Planning & Strategy 
  • Assistant Accountant/Part Qualified 
  • Audit, Risk & Operational Review 
  • Business Services (Chartered Accounting)
  • Corporate Advisory & Finance 
  • Finance Managers, Controllers & Chief Financial Officers
  • Financial & Management Accounting 
  • Payroll 
  • Tax & Treasury

As a graduate, not all of these job categories will be available to you. Below, we focus on 5 key positions. Of course, there will be other alternatives, but these are the more popular and most common for a new graduate.

Accounts Payable

Accounts Payable involves entering invoices, reconciling to supplier statements and internal documents, processing payments and ensuring that all transactions are correctly documented and accounted for while maintaining the company's AP ledger.

What career path options are there? Entry-level positions require a high school certificate, although more companies are beginning to require at least a degree in business or accounting. Those with degrees can be expected to be promoted into senior or managerial roles, or to an Assistant Accountant position.

Accounts Receivable

Accounts Receivable involves creating customer invoices, preparing customer statements, allocating payments received and ensuring that all transactions are correctly documented and accounted for while maintaining the company's AR ledger.

What career path options are there? Similar to Accounts Payable, entry-level positions require a high school certificate, although more companies are beginning to require at least a degree in business or accounting. Those with degrees can be expected to be promoted into senior or managerial roles, or to an Assistant Accountant position.

Assistant Accountant

In this role you work under the supervision of an accounting senior who delegates junior accounting tasks. Generally the role involves assisting with the preparation of financial statements and statutory returns, performing balance sheet reconciliations including bank reconciliations, overseeing accounts payable and receivable, entering journals to facilitate with month end process such as accruals and prepayments, and maintaining the general ledger. Generally they will also assist in the preparation of taxation returns such as BAS, GST, FBT and payroll.

What career path options are there? Entry-level positions require a degree in business or accounting though some companies also require candidates to be qualified or part-qualified with a CA or CPA. Those with experience can be expected to be promoted into a Financial or Managerial Accounting position.

Junior Accountant – Chartered Firm or Public Practice (Audit/Business Services/Taxation)

Depending on the nature of the business, a Junior Accountant can be involved in preparing the financial statements and taxation returns for a variety of clients. Generally a graduate will start in a role by processing income tax returns for individuals and then progress to processing financial statements for sole traders, to partnerships and small companies. This will often involve preparing BAS, GST and FBT returns. Sometimes the role will also require the completion of financial audits.

What career path options are there? Entry-level positions require a degree in business or accounting though some companies also require candidates to be qualified or part-qualified with a CA or CPA. Those with experience can be expected to be promoted into a senior position, or move to commerce and industry in an Assistant Accountant role or a Financial or Managerial Accounting position.

Payroll Clerk

A Payroll Clerk performs a variety of tasks around employee pay. Generally it involves entering new employees into the payroll system, removing employees who have left the organisation and maintaining the records of those who currently work for the organisation. Other tasks include entering changes in pay or tax status, maintaining attendance records, ensuring that deductions are handled correctly and assisting in processing termination pay. More experienced clerks might calculate and prepare general ledger entries, calculate earnings and deductions totals, and file tax reports.

What career path options are there? Entry-level positions require a high school degree, although more companies are beginning to require at least a degree in business or accounting. Most people who enter payroll choose to stay in the area. They are generally promoted to senior or managerial positions. Those who prefer to be involved more in accounting will make the move early on into AP or AR and follow in the path to becoming an Assistant Accountant.


There are many options open to you as a graduate in the accounting industry. Defining your career path now will set you up for future success!
 

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