What is Accounting?
Accounting is a diverse field that includes a range of skills and roles, from basic bookkeeping and financial record keeping through to corporate financial accounting, strategic management performance and a multitude of options in between.
Accounting is a fundamental business discipline, which provides a solid foundation for a lifelong career in business, finance or commerce.
Guided by the underlying principles of finance, accounting strives to enable both businesses and individuals to apply financial structures and solutions that maximise long-term wealth maximisation. Accountants may work collaboratively and creatively to apply critical thinking and problem-solving strategies in financial decision-making.
Another essential undertaking of accounting within a business is cost management and control. Accountants must understand and be able to use a range of costing techniques for different activities and decisions. Accounting also typically oversees the formulation and ongoing management of company budgets.
This is about much more than the numbers. Accountants fulfil a vital role in organisational planning and control, providing insights and judgement that assist in decision making across a range of management accounting contexts.
Accounting may also involve evaluating and problem-solving in the areas of product costing, cost behaviour, cost volume profit analysis, budgeting, and performance analysis.
Technology is an exciting enabler of new accounting practices and possibilities, and contemporary changes such as cloud-based systems and artificial intelligence have impacted the profession in recent years. Current practitioners must have a robust understanding of these developments, alongside traditional technical skills.
Meanwhile, other contemporary accounting challenges such as accounting for foreign exchange, and applying international financial frameworks and standards for the disclosure of financial and non-financial information, remain at the forefront of global professional debate.
What does an accountant do?
As an accountant, you will contribute to the most critical function of all businesses and organisations — their financial viability. You must be adept at recognising financial patterns and executing the technical responsibilities of a financial accountant; however, you will also find plenty of opportunities to work strategically and creatively, if you desire.
Accounting offers excellent potential for career progression, as you begin in entry-level positions and expand your knowledge and experience over the years.
Working either in-house or in a consulting role, your day-to-day may involve number-crunching, financial reporting or taxation accounting. You may be required to prepare company financial statements for audit and assurance, or, you may even transition into audit or assurance roles yourself, applying your forensic financial skills and strong analytical capabilities.
Accountants must demonstrate a solid understanding of legal requirements relating to partnerships and companies, as well as taxation law, going beyond the straightforward completion of tax returns to provide in-depth guidance to large companies, family businesses and diverse individuals.
Alternatively, you may focus on assisting organisations to gain a big-picture strategic view. Through analysis and interpretation of data, accountants can add immense business value by delivering financial insight and information about long-term competitive performance.
What jobs are there in accounting?
Accountants may find work in almost any business or industry in Australia or around the world, so long as they are familiar with the tax regulations and financial legislation of that country.
Certain certifications, such as the globally recognised Chartered Accountants or the Australian Certified Practising Accountant qualification, provide a further level of professional development following the completion of an accounting degree. These additional certifications are usually completed after a number of years in the workforce, and can assist with international recognition of your accounting skills and experience.
In Australia, you may also apply to become a registered individual tax agent if you satisfy certain conditions. This licence allows you to charge a fee for providing taxation services, and establish your own small accounting business, working with individuals or other small businesses.
The list is extensive when it comes to the kinds of jobs you could hold with a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Accounting from JCU. Common accounting jobs includes:
- Business manager
- Business owner, entrepreneur
- Commercial and taxation law specialist
- Corporate financial manager
- Data analyst
- Expert consultant
- Financial analyst
- Financial controller.
Why study Accounting at JCU?
When you study Accounting at JCU with the Bachelor of Commerce, you will develop essential job-ready skills and gain knowledge and experience through our work-integrated learning capstone program.
Our accounting lecturers have all been practising professionals who can give students invaluable insights into what it’s like to work in a range of accounting roles. Students will study financial principles and learn to apply technical accounting skills using engaging real-world examples and practical case studies.
While our accounting subjects are focused on preparing students for the workplace, you may also have the opportunity to contribute to meaningful research in important contemporary accounting issues impacting the discipline.
JCU academics are leaders in their fields and undertake innovative and exciting financial research projects that aim to solve real-world professional challenges.
JCU students completing a Bachelor of Commerce with a Major in Accounting may also be able to complete one semester at JCU Singapore, or at one of our 52 partnering universities around the world, gaining a global perspective that can help set them apart in a competitive job market.