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Student Story: A Peek Into my Life as an Accountant

Elliane was born and raised on a small island in the central Philippines. It was her dream to study abroad and immerse herself in another culture that led Elliane to move to Sydney.

“Australia is the perfect place to be: open to international students, with top-quality education, a melting pot of cultures, and home to koalas and quokkas,” says Elliane.

With inspiration and encouragement from her ever-supportive family, Elliane mustered the courage to move to Australia. She’s now been here for more than two years, and she says it’s the best decision she’s ever made.

“I did tell everyone that I will go home, but I am seriously re-evaluating that thought now,” she says.

Australian study experience

Elliane’s goals were to secure good-quality education and to get reliable support in building her career.

“I got both from Charles Sturt University, so I am pleased with my journey,” she says.

The students attending the university come from all walks of life, and Charles Sturt University facilitated a smooth transition to Sydney’s ways of teaching and living. The professors treated Elliane in an autonomous manner that is expected of a master’s student, as opposed to being handheld throughout the process.

“Every piece of homework, as well as practical tests and exams, was carefully crafted to prepare us for the Australian job market,” she says.

In her downtime, Elliane was continually looking for ways to improve her skills.

“During my free time between classes, I would sneak in one or two training sessions – to improve my English writing and speaking skills, resumé writing, interview preparation, and much more,” Elliane says.

Charles Sturt University encouraged her to develop her soft skills through participation in clubs and organisations, and Elliane is proud to share that she has been an active student volunteer.

“I would help organise different events and became a student mentor and ambassador,” she says. 

Overall, the lessons and activities she experienced and everyone she met at Charles Sturt University have made her study experience a fulfilling one. 

The road to employment

Elliane completed her master’s degree in December 2019. Due to the global pandemic and the fact she was on a graduate visa, she faced challenges in the job market in 2020. However, she reached out to several people for their advice on finding a job in Australia as a graduate.

“I started with my cousin, Nacey, whose work ethic is something I admire,” says Elliane. “She happily proofread my resumé and provided constructive criticism on how to highlight my experiences more.”

Elliane was also in constant communication with her career manager at Charles Sturt University, Chantal, whose patience and dedication was something Elliane much appreciated.

“We would talk for hours at a time, going through my resumé line by line. She even wrote a customised interview question-and-answer for me to practice on, listened to my first-ever call with an employer, and made sure I was placed in a good company during my internship,” says Elliane.  

Roughly seven months after graduation, Elliane landed an accounting role in a company that she felt an immediate connection to. 

A day in the life of an accountant

For Elliane, a good night’s sleep is essential to wake up feeling her best. She goes to bed early, as she has to wake up at 6am every day to get to the office. She lives in the inner west  of Sydney and has to travel up to two hours in each direction, which she says she enjoys, as she is able to use the time for leisure.

“My introverted self enjoys the long train rides,” she says. “I use the time to listen to my thoughts, read books, indulge in music and podcasts, plan my day in the office, or sometimes nap if I badly need it.”

Once she arrives at her destination, she stops off for a coffee and picks up her favourite sourdough bread from Woolworths supermarket. She’s then ready to kick off her day answering emails, settling bills, paying invoices and processing payroll.

Elliane is used to working for big companies. However, she always found it hard to see how her role fit into the big picture. Her new role is within a significantly smaller company, where she can see how her work affects the different areas of business. This gives her a strong desire to do her best. 

“It is even more exciting and challenging when no two days are alike,” she says. “Every day is a different set of payments to process, invoices to prepare and reconciliations to balance for three separate business entities.”

She’s now been in the role for a little over three months, and her passion and drive for a career in accounting are going strong.

We asked Elliane how she unwinds after a day at work, and she shared that once she steps out of the office, her mind switches off from work. She usually relaxes with a long bath followed by her favourite skincare routine. On the weekends, she works out at the gym.

Her advice to other international students who want to become accountants is to never stop trying. 

“Constantly work on yourself and don’t hesitate to seek help. It’s always available when you ask,” she says.