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Completion of the accounting major gives students the opportunity to develop the necessary skills for a career in the financial services industry. Some students choose to complete the accredited sequence and go on to undertake further accreditation through bodies such as the Institute of Chartered Accountants or CPA Australia. This allows them to work as either Chartered Accountant or a Certified Practicing Accountant. Other students do not gain this accreditation but are able to work as accountants or in related financial services occupations. Employers will usually specify whether they wish to employ accredited or non-accredited accountants, and this will depend on the types of tasks employees are required to perform as well as the nature of the industry and organisation within which they work.
Students must complete the units set out at http://www.newcastle.edu.au/Resources/Schools/Newcastle Business School/Accounting and Finance/CPA-course-list-jun09.pdf in order to meet the academic requirements for Associate membership of CPA Australia and enrolment in the CPA Program, and for enrolment in the Chartered Accountants Program of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia. This linked information must be read in conjunction with the approved program documentation detailed below.
The Finance Major Sequence in the Bachelor of Commerce meets the requirements for the Financial Services Institute of Australasia (FINSIA). Students may also be able to gain accreditation with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) with regard to various education and knowledge requirements under RG146. For more details see: http://www.asic.gov.au/eTraining/eTrain.nsf
For more information about studying Accounting and Finance, visit the Newcastle Business School site.
Further Study Options
Some occupations require a higher level of completed study than an undergraduate degree, and for this reason it is worthwhile considering the range of Honours, Research Higher Degrees (RHD), Postgraduate Coursework and additional study options available. These options may also be useful for specialising in a particular area, or to stimulate career change. Some of the future options following a degree with a major in Accounting include:
Honours is a one year stand-alone program, completed after successfully fulfilling the requirements of the undergraduate degree. View Bachelor of Commerce (Honours).
After completing a degree there are a broad range of postgraduate options available in a variety of fields which can allow you to specialise in a particular area of interest or build upon your existing knowledge base. To explore such options please visit the Postgraduate Handbook at http://www.newcastle.edu.au/program/postgraduate/
The sample job titles listed include a range of opportunities for graduates at degree, honours and postgraduate study levels.
- Chartered Accountant (CA)
- Certified Practicing Accountant (CPA)
- Bank Officer
- Business Analyst/Consultant
- Data Analyst
- Financial Analyst
- Financial Officer
Getting the Edge
Most employers seek to recruit people who have relevant work experience and an appreciation for their industry. Here is a check list of ideas about gaining experience and industry knowledge.
- Check the type of experience most employers in your field of interest expect. Don’t overlook the part time work you may be currently doing. Most employers understand that the skills are transferrable even if the work is not in their industry.
- Check your academic program for any courses that involve a placement or the opportunity to undertake an industry based project.
- Check your school for Summer Scholarships for research opportunities.
- Check vacancy sites for advertised traineeships, part time employment and vacation work opportunities in your field.
- Source and approach organisations directly about possible work shadowing or information interview opportunities.
- Source and approach organisations directly for paid work opportunities.
- Consider volunteering.
Note: Gaining experience may be important but not at the expense of your studies. Make sure you do not overload your timetable with unrealistic work commitments.
Accounting employment opportunities exist in a wide variety of industries within small, medium and large organisations. Below is an example of some major organisations which formally target graduates with qualifications in accounting.
- ACT Department of Treasury (Australia)
- AMP (Australia)
- ANZ (Australia)
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (Australia)
- Australian Taxation Office (Australia)
- BAE Systems (Australia)
- Centrelink (Australia)
- Deloitte (Australia)
- Ernst & Young (International)
- Ferrier Hodgson (Australia)
- Forsyths (Australia)
- HBOS Australia (Australia)
- HLB Mann Judd (Australia)
- HSBC International Management (International)
- KordaMentha (International)
- KPMG (International)
- Lawler Partners (Australia)
- Lend Lease (Australia)
- Macquarie Bank (Australia)
- NSW Treasury (Australia)
- Pitcher Partners (Australia)
- PricewaterhouseCoopers (Australia)
- Reserve Bank of Australia (Australia)
- RSM Bird Cameron (International)
- Suncorp (Australia)
- William Buck (Australia)
- Woodside (Australia)
- Xstrata (Australia)
Some large organisations have specific graduate recruitment programs designed to employ the pick of graduates each year. You must be in your final year of study or recently completed to apply for these programs. The timing of these recruitment drives varies and may occur at any point in the academic year, in some cases starting as early as the first few weeks of the first semester or trimester.
Find out if employers in your area/s of interest have graduate programs, when they typically recruit and what recruitment methods they use. Check with the Careers Service .
Job Prospects and Salary
For up-to-date information please see Job Outlook Australia. This site provides basic Australian labour market information including job prospects, skills requirements and salaries. You might try some of the classifications below as a guide on this site.
Societies and Associations
Associations and societies often provide relevant and up to date information about a variety of issues relating to specific industry sectors. These can be a good starting point to learn more about occupations through profiles, industry news, links to academic journals and information on research developments. Many also offer student membership, conference and professional development activities, newsletters and the opportunity to participate in projects.
- The Association of Taxation and Management Accountants (Australia)
- Financial Planning Association (Australia)
- Financial Services Accountants Association (Australia)
- The Institute of Internal Auditors Australia (Australia)
Don’t overlook student societies and associations. As well as student chapters of professional associations, some faculties or schools have discipline based student associations. Check your school or faculty web site; perhaps you might start one if one doesn’t exist.
Some academic disciplines run Seminar Programs that involve regular seminars presented by University of Newcastle academics, visiting academics and postgraduate students. Check your schools website for the timetable.
Job Search Sites
Searching job sites is a good way to gain an understanding of: industries recruiting professionals in this field; types of roles and the requirements or expectations of employers for these roles. There are many online job search sites, here are a few to start with:
Australian and International
- CareerHub: the University of Newcastle Careers Service careers and job search site for enrolled students and graduates.
- CareerOne: Australia wide job listings, all levels and industries including executive positions
- MyCareer: Australian and international listings
- Seek: comprehensive Australian job listings, also includes New Zealand and UK listings
- The Big Chair: Management and Executive Jobs
Graduate Attributes and Employability
Graduate attributes for the Bachelor of Commerce are the skills, abilities and knowledge that are highly sought after by a broad range of employers. Below is the complete list of attributes that graduates will have demonstrated upon the completion of the degree.
Graduates of the Bachelor of Commerce will demonstrate:
1. A foundational knowledge of organisational theory, information technology and value chains, business law, marketing, the political environment, and strategy.
2. Well founded, specialist knowledge of the theories and practices in at least one of accounting, finance or economics.
3. Specialised professional skills in their chosen discipline, informed by the ability to analyse, evaluate and synthesise both quantitative and qualitative information.
4. The ability to work autonomously or collaboratively in a manner that is sensitive to and tolerant of diversity, and informed by critical and adaptive thinking.
5. Awareness of social and cultural issues within local, national, and international spheres of business operations.
6. Awareness of the standards necessary for appropriate professional practice and ethical conduct and an understanding of how to implement such standards.
7. A capability for life-long, self-directed learning, informed by exposure to different paradigms and experiences.
8. The capacity to contribute positively to the development of organisations through the process of research and inquiry.
9. Effective written and verbal communication of their specialised knowledge.
You will recognise these attributes in the selection criteria listed in the following job ads.
Sample Job Ads & Tips
Job ads provide useful information about the job and the required skills, experience and qualifications. Information like this is useful in career planning. Below is a small sample of job ads with tips on planning and job applications; explore further to gather more useful information for your planning.
Please note, the job ads listed on this page are not current and were sourced from a variety of websites in 2010.