How to become a chartered accountant in Australia

Chartered accountants are highly qualified financial professionals with in-depth technical and specialised knowledge of business finance and accounting. They can be found plying their trade in almost all sectors, from financial services and banking to healthcare, small business, the industrial sector, and in many more industries Australia wide.

Chartered accountants are internationally recognised financial professionals who typically manage budgets, auditing, taxation, and business strategy for their clients. They may also work in-house as financial controllers in a business.

So, what is a chartered accountant, what accounting qualifications do they hold, and what do chartered accountants do? Chartered accountants can work for businesses, government organisations, and individuals. Their job is to provide professional financial advice and help clients manage the funds of employers or clients. Having obtained their CA accreditation, chartered accountants are qualified to offer financial advice and manage financial records.

Chartered accountants also perform many other day to day accounting duties while also making strategic financial decisions to help achieve sustainable business growth. Because of the strict CA requirements, chartered accountants are considered as trusted advisors to business owners and business leaders in many industries. They may also accept corporate accountant roles with large corporations

Are you considering committing to a career as a chartered accountant? If so, read on for all you need to know about becoming a chartered accountant in Australia, including what it will take to become a chartered accountant and where a career as a chartered accountant could take you.

What do chartered accountants do?

Having completed their required CA courses, chartered accountants can fill a wide variety of finance roles. Knowing what a chartered accountant does and what a common career path for chartered accountants can look like can help you to determine whether this may be a good career fit for you. So, what to chartered accountants actually do?

Once they gain their “CA” accreditation, chartered accountants can be found using their accounting skills and knowledge to perform the following common accounting tasks.

  1. Accountancy and auditing: From basic bookkeeping to complex financial analysis, general accounting and auditing is one of your responsibilities. Additionally, you may also work on audits. Given your CA expertise, auditing is one of the most valuable services you may provide.
  2. Management consultancy: Chartered accountants may be asked to serve in a consulting role, such as advising businesses on how to deploy their resources more efficiently. As a management consultant, chartered accountants can provide consulting services such as developing and implementing systems for budgetary control.
  3. Tax management: Businesses, clients, and other organisations often seek chartered accountants’ expert knowledge when it comes to managing their with tax. With their extensive training on statutory taxes many organisations require the specialised services of a chartered accountant.
  4. Cost accountancy: Chartered accountants can offer professional advice to businesses on production matters. Whether the company provides a product or a service, your guidance can help them calculate the production costs accurately during each stage of operation.
  5. Settlements and estates: Chartered accountants may serve as executors of a will or trust to administrate a settlement or an estate. In this case a solicitor or lawyer who is working on trust or estate settlements may bring in a CA to help with the accounting side of the work.
  6. Serving on boards of directors: Companies often value having a CA on their board of directors. Chartered accountants with many years of experience are often chosen for this role.
  7. Serving as the secretary of an organisation: Well-structured companies may prefer to hire a CA in the role of secretary among the management. Often, groups of companies may also choose to appoint you in a secretarial role. Your main responsibility is to assist the board of directors in areas like finance, administration, accounting, and taxation.
  8. Arbitration duties: Chartered accountants may act as an arbitrator in issues of dispute settlement, such as when a business fails and declares bankruptcy, In this case, a CA may help prepare statements of affairs. T may also act as a company’s trustee in the case of bankruptcy.
  9. Investigative duties: A CA’s knowledge and expertise can be an invaluable resource when businesses want to obtain a clear picture of their financial position. CAs may be called in when a business is being sold or acquired.

What skills do you need to succeed as a chartered accountant?

Chartered accountants usually require a combination of interpersonal and professional skills to succeed in their careers. Some of the crucial skills that can help these professionals perform their duties include the following.

  1. Data analysis: Accountants usually interpret financial data from different sources. Having strong analytical skills can enable the accountant to derive information and insight from raw data or financial records and prepare accurate financial reports.
  2. Adaptability: An accountant’s job can constantly evolve due to new protocols, technological advancements and workplace dynamics. Being able to adapt quickly to changing work situations may enable accountants to stay current and perform their work at a high level.
  3. Strategic decision-making: Automation of various accounting and administrative tasks means the accountant may have time to dwell on the decision-making aspect of their role. Individuals with strong decision-making skills can help their organisation make sound long-term plans and attain their short-term goals.
  4. Critical thinking: If a challenging situation arises, the accountant might critically evaluate its variables and potential risks before taking action. Critical thinking can allow the accountant to identify and address errors or inaccuracies before these mistakes can affect the company’s financial health or compliance.
  5. Computer literacy: Accountants often use computers and accounting software that integrate payroll, invoicing, tax filing, budgeting, payment processing, accounts receivable and other features. Being able to use workplace computers and the financial management suite or existing accounting tools can help the accountant keep track of a company’s financial health.
  6. Collaboration: Teamwork can be another critical accounting skill for aspiring chartered accountants. This skill can enable them to work together with colleagues in team projects, learn new ideas and contribute to the group’s success.
  7. Communication: Accountants interact and talk to different people face-to-face and across various mediums such as mobile phones, emails and video conferencing. Strong verbal and written communication skills can enable the accountant to communicate information clearly and concisely and build strong relationships in the workplace.
  8. Time management: Chartered accountants often juggle multiple tasks at the same time. Being able to prioritise tasks can ensure the accountant makes timely payments, meets deadlines during tax season and delivers periodic reports to the finance manager.
  9. Creative problem-solving: Organisations often value accountants who can solve problems. Having the ability to anticipate challenges within the company can help the accountant develop contingency plans to solve potential obstacles.
  10. Accounting standards: Accounting departments usually follow various standard accounting standards including the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and the International Financial Reporting Standards. A firm grasp of accounting standards and principles might help the accountant prepare consistent financial statements and reports on the organisation’s finances.

Why you may consider a career as a chartered accountant?

When you become a chartered accountant you’ll gain a competitive edge over other designated accountants such as certified practising accountants, or CPA accountants. While CPA accountants are highly qualified general accountants, chartered accountants (CA) have studied and been trained to handle more technical tax and specialist accounting tasks, often found in larger companies, professional industries and corporate firms.

As such, the chartered accountant designation is an internationally recognised, respected, and sought-after qualification. They earn an enviable reputation as leaders and experts in the accounting field. And this is deserved. Having the CA designation on your CV can help you move into a financial controller or Chief Financial Officer role later in your career.

Chartered accountants also have the added skills large businesses desire. They are viewed as reliable, trusted advisors who possess high levels of financial acumen and experts when it comes to tax and financial legislation.

How much can a chartered accountant earn?

According to labourmarketinsights.gov.au, the median earnings for full-time employed practising accountants in Australia is $1,756 per week, or $91,312 annually. Labourmarketinsights.gov.au also notes that 75 per cent of full-time employed accountants earn more than $1,347 per week, while 25 per cent of full-time employed accountants earn more than $2,213 per week.

If you are confident with numbers and calculations and have strong analytical skills, you may have what it takes to become a chartered accountant.

How BizCover helps chartered accountants with accountant insurance?

As a tech innovator in the small business insurance space, BizCover provides a quick and easy way for chartered accountants to compare competitive accountant insurance* quotes online and purchase their accountant insurance in less than 10 minutes. Common types of accountant insurance that chartered accountants may consider include:

Professional Indemnity insurance: Protects your business from losses arising out of acts, errors and omissions from a wide variety of services.

Business Insurance: An insurance package designed to provide cover for your business contents, stock, tools and commercial premises when an insured event occur.

Cyber Liability insurance: Business insurance that protect you from claims and supports your profitability in the event of a cyber breach or attack.

Visit our dedicated online destination for insurance for accountants to compare competitive insurance quotes, get covered in just 10 minutes, and get on with your day. If you prefer to pick up the phone, you’ll reach our friendly team on 1300 920 863.

This information is general only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. It should not be relied upon as advice. As with any insurance, cover will be subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions contained in the policy wording.
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