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What are the Requirements to Study Accounting in Australia?

This article is sponsored by ACCA Global

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be an accountant? Maybe you’ve had a look at the types of accounting jobs in Australia and are planning to study accounting or commerce as an international student.

Accounting jobs are in high demand, meaning that if you work hard to gain an accounting qualification and are successful in getting a job you like, you could soon start a rewarding career. But before all that happens – what exactly do you need to study accounting in Australia? Read on to find out!

What are the requirements to study accounting?

If you wish to study at an educational institution as an international student or are completing a visa application so you can move to Australia, you may need to take an English test. Some students are exempt from taking an English test, but those who do take a test have many options to choose from, including IELTS and TOEFL. The type of English test and the minimum score you need will vary depending on your course, so it’s best to first check the requirements with your institution.

Although there is no single best university to study accounting in Australia, some universities are ranked higher than others in aspects like teaching quality and student support. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide where you study, based on your circumstances. It doesn’t even need to be at university, as TAFE and other education providers offer accounting courses, too.

Which prerequisite subjects should you study?

Some courses, particularly at university, list English and mathematics as prerequisite subjects that you must have completed. Check with individual education providers to see whether they have any specific prerequisites for their courses.

What academic grades do you need to study accounting in Australia?

Much like with prerequisite subjects, different education providers across Australia will often require different entry scores or academic grades before you are able to commence your accounting course. Make sure to thoroughly research each course, or contact the education provider directly, to check what grades you need before applying. 

What qualifications do you need to work as an accountant?

If you want to work as an accountant in Australia or globally, you can study an accounting course at an educational institution such as university, college or TAFE. If you do not require a student visa or hold an unrestricted visa to be in Australia, you can also complete a pathway program through professional accounting bodies like the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).

TAFE and university courses are offered from a certificate level through to postgraduate study. For example:

  • A Certificate IV in Accounting and Bookkeeping at TAFE sets you up to take on roles like a bookkeeper or accounts clerk.
  • Some vocational institutions offer a Diploma of Accounting, which takes less time and money to undertake than an undergraduate degree.
  • Generally speaking, you’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree – such as a Bachelor of Accounting, or Bachelor of Business (Accountancy) – if you want to apply to become a member of a professional accounting body. Others, such as ACCA, allows you to start at the fundamental level if you are a diploma holder or completed a high school certification. University students can apply for exemptions from fundamental level exams based on subjects completed at an accredited degree to start at the Strategic Professional level.
  • You could study a postgraduate degree, such as a Master of Professional Accounting, to take your abilities to a more advanced level.
  • Several universities n Australia offer degrees that embed a professional qualification from professional bodies. Check with the education provider to find out more or enquire with the professional bodies on your options.

Professional networks also offer preparatory courses to lay the groundwork for an accounting qualification. At ACCA, for example, if you don’t have a background in accounting, you can start with the Foundations exam. Otherwise, if you have relevant secondary education, you can start with the Applied Knowledge course and work up to a full qualification.

Do you stop studying after you graduate?

If you think about it, none of us really stop learning throughout our careers! While working as an accountant, you could enrol in a short course to upgrade your skills, or decide to return to postgraduate study after completing an undergraduate degree. Pursuing lifelong learning – the act of seeking new knowledge across your whole life, even after the end of formal study – is a great way to maintain your accounting expertise, expand into emerging subfields of accounting like finance business partnering, data analytics, robotic process automation, cyber-security, and potentially earn promotions and take on more senior or specialist roles.

When it comes to building a career in accounting, it’s also important to not only develop technical skills like numeracy and using computer software, but to also learn soft skills like communication, emotional intelligence and collaborating in a team. You’ll become a better accountant and a more effective employee, and will be on your way to a rewarding accounting career.