Graduates in the Accounting & Finance Sector – CPA Australia

March 17, 2015 by Curtin CEL Team

Graduates in the Accounting & Finance Sector – CPA Australia

CPA Australia is one of the world’s largest accounting bodies with a global membership of more than 150,000 members working in 120 countries around the world. Their core services include education, training, technical support and advocacy for members. We spoke to Michael Harris, to get some insight into the advice they’d give to grads. 

Becoming a CPA, when you didn’t study Accounting…

Many business professionals in both the corporate or small business sectors will at some point require sound financial acumen to succeed in senior roles or adequately run their own business. The CPA Australia designation provides a relevant and comprehensive understanding of strategic accounting for those who want to be successful in business, regardless of their prior education. It is also worth mentioning that Accounting is historically a very reliable profession for seeking employment. The world will always require accountants and financial consultants, so we see many enquiries from prospective members with non-accounting related backgrounds keen to know how to become a CPA.

Graduate Employment Outlook…

Depending on what you read, there’s mixed views on the current state of the employment market for graduates. The landscape is certainly competitive, with more organisations outsourcing services and realising greater efficiencies. However there are still excellent opportunities for graduates. Newcomers to the profession should look beyond just the typical organisations that take large intakes of graduates, and develop an appreciation of the wider sector. CPAs for instance work across accounting firms, SME’s, industry and commerce, public sector (government), public practices and the non-for-profit sectors, so provided graduates are broadening their view and prepared to make enquiries across multiple industries, they should find work.

Skills gaps in Grads…

Time and again employers are telling us that they come across many graduates with excellent technical accounting skills, but who lack the ability to communicate effectively or engage with business professionals. Employers want graduates they can confidently put in front of their clients. Many graduates also lack the ability to really understand the profession they are entering, how it is structured, what are the opportunities, and therefore what they really want to do. This is difficult to know whilst at university, however employers want reassurance that graduates can commit to their line of work are therefore worth the investment long-term. This is why we encourage current students to engage with the professional accounting bodies, so they develop a strong appreciation of the sector.

Visit CPA Australia’s In the Black for more great insights, we love the article Top Jobs in 2015

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