TAFE NSW shakes up finance training

TAFE NSW is training finance students in cloud-based accounting software for the first time in a move winning plaudits from industry, driving higher enrolments and changing the nature of graduate recruitment.

In a sector long dominated by one major software provider, TAFE NSW is now giving students access to Reckon One in response to demand from the accounting and bookkeeping industry for graduates with experience using multiple software platforms.

The software access, provided as part of a partnership between ASX-listed Reckon and TAFE NSW, is fast making the training provider's students more attractive to the major accounting firms and better prepared for an increasingly digital workplace.

Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) CEO Andrew Conway said the availability of such cloud-based accounting software and smartphone applications came at a time of significant change for the sector.

“It is now essential that those looking for a career in the finance sector are familiar with multiple software systems,” Mr Conway said.

“TAFE NSW has shown great foresight in recognising this change by updating its courses to teach students how to use cloud-based software, helping them prepare for a job in the bookkeeping industry.”

Reckon Australia and New Zealand Managing Director Sam Allert said the role of accountants and bookkeepers was changing rapidly.

“This partnership has been designed to provide students with confidence to move forward in contemporary accounting business practices by offering the right foundation and all the bookkeeping principles needed to run a business,” Mr Allert said.

“Upon completion, students will be able to use Reckon One efficiently, have the practical skills needed to interpret data and then make strategic business decisions.”

General Manager of TAFE NSW Digital Megan Aitken said businesses of all sizes were focused on efficiency, particularly through shifting more work to the cloud.

“While a decade ago there were only two major software programs used in the accounting and bookkeeping industry, the market has changed and there are now several platforms in common use,” Ms Aitken said.

“Many major accounting firms are rethinking traditional graduate recruitment pathways, which have long relied upon those with university qualifications.

“The finance sector is fast recognising the need for graduates that have both theoretical knowledge and hands-on training – TAFE NSW is providing both, ensuring students will hit the ground running from day one on the job.

“This is yet another example of TAFE NSW preparing students for the jobs of tomorrow by working closely with major employers and industry providers.”

The initiative coincides with news that major accounting firm Deloitte is, for the first time, reserving slots in its annual experienced hire intake for TAFE NSW graduates.

Donna McLeod, Deloitte's National Talent Acquisition Senior Manager for Experienced Hire, said the finance sector needed confidence that new graduates had the necessary hands-on skills to thrive in the workplace.

“We certainly see brilliant candidates coming out of TAFE NSW equipped with the right skills to work at small and large accounting firms,” Ms McLeod said.

“With this in mind, Deloitte is looking to recruit more TAFE students within its business.”

Reckon software is currently used by up to 65% of the accounting sector, providing students with greater job prospects and work-ready skills.

Ms Aitken said TAFE NSW had seen strong interest in finance-related courses in response to its efforts to be the go-to option for students looking to work in the sector.