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How to be an accountant

The ability to pore over lots of numbers without becoming confused by them is an essential skill for an accountant

So, you're thinking of being an accountant…

As long as businesses and individuals are interested in minimizing expenses and documenting all business transactions correctly and honestly, the work of accountants will always be in demand. Accountants are much more than just "bean counters", they're essential allies for helping to guide people through the complex and ever-changing world of tax and finance.

What do you have to do to become an accountant?

Firstly, there are a couple of personal skills and qualities that will help you become a successful accountant. Most importantly you'll need a talent for mathematics and a love of numbers in general. The ability to pore over lots of numbers without becoming confused by them is an essential skill for an accountant. It also helps to be naturally orderly and well organised with good attention to detail and the ability to analyse and synthesise data.

To become an accountant you'll also need some kind of formal qualification. This is regardless of whether you're aiming to be a public accountant, a management accountant, a government accountant or an internal auditor.

Formal qualifications

If you're just starting out, the best TAFE NSW course for you would be the Certificate IV in Accounting. This course has no entry requirements and can be a good pathway to other accounting courses, such as the Degree, Diploma and Advanced Diploma. The Certificate IV is also available through TAFE NSW Online learning.

Did you know you can begin your TAFE studies while you're still at school? This is through the TVET program. TVET stands for "TAFE-delivered vocational education and training", and Business Services (which includes accounting) is among the industry areas that are eligible. It means you can learn valuable workplace skills and gain hands-on experience while you're still at school, increasing your prospects of employment. The TVET program has been developed by the Board of Studies and can count towards your HSC. Upon completion of your TVET course you'll be awarded a Certificate qualification or statement of attainment, which is nationally accredited and recognised. If you're interested in starting your training while still at school, speak to a career advisor either at your school or your nearest TAFE NSW college.

No matter what twists and turns your life takes you, training as an accountant is one way of ensuring you'll always have a valuable skillset to fall back on. Whether it's personal finances, small businesses or large multinational companies, "balancing the books" is something that's never going to go out of fashion.