The Accounting Profession in Australia

The accounting profession in Australia is thriving. The number of accountants employed at the professional level has risen strongly over the past decade, from around 100,000 in 1996-97 to just over 140,000 in 2005-06.

Accountants, are in short supply in the Australian labour market. In September 2004 the Australian Federal Government added accountants to the Migrant Occupations in Demand List (MODL). This decision was based on assessments of the Australian job market by the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR). To qualify, an occupation must be in widespread shortage across Australia.

CPA Australia’s Director of Education, Ann Johns said it is crucial that the Government, universities and the profession work together to address the skill shortage. Steps must be taken to ensure that qualified migrant accountants in Australia can secure jobs in the profession in which they are qualified.

Accounting in Australia

Australia has a Uniform Companies Act and Uniform Tax Act which standardises business taxes on a federal level. The Companies Act requires annual financial statements and companies are required to comply with the disclosure requirements of the Australian Stock Exchange. Australian accounting standards agree with international standards, and US Generally Accepted Accounting Practices are used for guidance in areas where standards are lacking.

Australian Accounting Standards

The Australian Accounting Standards Board (the AASB) makes accounting standards for the private, public and not-for-profit sectors and participates in the formulation of international accounting standard The AASB is responsible for developing and issuing AASB Accounting Standards (AASBs) and the “care and maintenance” of the body of Standards. The functions and powers of the AASB are set out in the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001.

Since 2002, the AASB has been implementing the strategic direction from the Financial Reporting Council to adopt International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) Standards for application to periods beginning on or after 1 January 2005. In July 2004, the Board made a number of Standards that apply from 2005.

In Australia Many entities regulated under the Corporations Act 2001 are required to apply Accounting Standards in preparing their financial reports. Some public sector entities are required to apply Accounting Standards by Commonwealth, State or Territory legislation, through specific instructions to preparers or reporting frameworks set out in guidelines or regulations.

The three representative accounting bodies in Australia, The Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia , CPA Australia, and the National Institute of Accountants have a professional obligation to take all reasonable steps within their power to ensure that entities with which they are involved comply with AASBs in preparing their general-purpose financial reports. They also are the designated assessing authority appointed by the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship to conduct skill and qualification assessments for the purposes of General Skilled Migration and the Employer Nomination Scheme.

The Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia (the Institute) is the professional body representing Chartered Accountants in Australia. Their reach extends to more than 54,000 of today’s and tomorrow’s business leaders, representing some 43,000 Chartered Accountants and 11,000 of Australia’s best accounting graduates who are currently enrolled their world-class post-graduate program.

Institute members work in diverse roles across commerce and industry, academia, government, and public practice throughout Australia and in 107 countries around the world.

The Institute’s aim to lead the profession by delivering visionary leadership projects, setting the benchmark for the highest ethical, professional and educational standards and enhancing and promoting the Chartered Accountant brand. They also represent the interests of members to government, industry, academia and the general public by actively engaging their membership and local and international bodies on public policy, government legislation and regulatory issues.

CPA Australia has more than 112,000 finance, accounting and business professional members across the globe, CPA Australia is the sixth largest accounting body in the world.

Their international presence continues to grow in terms of representation on international bodies and influence in the profession globally.

In areas of financial reporting, taxation and corporate governance they are thought leaders in Australia and internationally.

Education, training, technical support and advocacy are their core services for members. Staff and members work together with local and international bodies to represent the views and concerns of the profession to federal, state and territory governments and to regulators, industry, academia and the general public.

The National Institute of Accountants (NIA) is a professional organisation for accountants recognised for their practical, hands-on skills and a broad understanding of the total business environment.

The NIA is a progressive, responsive accounting body committed to integrity, professionalism and professional development. It represents more than 14,000 members working in industry, commerce, government, academia and private practice.

Creating the competitive edge for business and accounting professionals, and providing professional recognition and support to drive business success.

Close consultation with influential business, government and public bodies enables the NIA to successfully address issues affecting the accounting profession. The NIA is represented on peak federal government committees.

The NIA actively raises the level of recognition for its members, their specialised skills and the accounting profession in general, through a proactive and consultative relationship with media and industry representatives.

The NIA has a long-standing history of involvement in the accounting industry as one of Australia's oldest representative professional bodies.

Types of Accounting positions available in Australia Average Salary
Analysis & Planning $86,844
Assistant Accountant/Part Qualified $52,925
Audit & Risk Accounting $87,899
Bookkeeping $51,364
Business Services Accountant $79,659
Company Secretary $109,019
Cost Accounting $87,355
CPA/Chartered Accountant $83,640
Financial Accounting $82,471
Financial Controller & Directorship $112,553
Insolvency Accounting $79,298
Management Accounting $83,704
Other Accounting $69,815
Payroll $53,912
Procurement & Inventory $75,802
Systems Accounting $76,427
Taxation Accountant $82,729