Whether you want to be an accountant for a large company, run your own firm or work online, a postgraduate education in accounting presents a lot of flexible options. You can decide how to balance work and life, choose to work online or be your own boss.
If you want to go down a different path, your Master of Professional Accounting can be a stepping stone into some unexpected roles. Data analysis, government policy, taxation, auditing, human resources, compliance, sales and finance roles: these are just a few of the other areas that accounting graduates end up in.
A Master of Accounting presents a wide array of opportunities, all depending on where you want to take it.
Degree requirements to study postgraduate accounting in Australia
To be eligible to apply for a Master of Accounting in Australia, you must:
- Successful completion of an Australian Bachelor degree (AQF Level 7) or equivalent, in any discipline.
- Have an academic IELTS 6.5 (no band less than 6.0) or equivalent.
If you don’t meet these requirements or you’re not sure, there are different pathway options for you to get into your course through the Recognition of Prior Learning process. You may also be able to receive credit for some of your completed studies towards an Australian bachelor degree.
Common career paths and average salaries for Master of Accounting graduates
When you think of a career in accounting, you might first imagine working as a tax accountant or graduate accountant. You would be surprised at the range of roles available to accounting graduates across all kinds of different sectors and industries.
Actual employee data from Payscale shows that master of accounting graduates often end up in roles ranging from Commercial Analyst to CFO or Relationship Manager. Here are some of the most common job titles reported by master of accounting graduates, according to Payscale:
- Finance Manager
- Operations Manager
- Financial Controller
- Chief Financial Officer/CFO
- Senior Accountant
- Data Analyst
- Business Analyst in Finance and Banking
- Relationship Manager
- Commercial Analyst
- Sales Analyst
- Tax Accountant
For international students in Australia, a Master of Accounting can be paired with an undergraduate degree in accounting, to help you climb to a more senior position. For domestic students, a Master of Accounting can be paired with an undergraduate degree in a different field; you can apply your education in accounting to a wide variety of career options.
With a degree in accounting you can also choose which type of career you want, depending on your interests and what kind of work-life balance suits you.
Start your own business
Many master of accounting graduates dream of one day starting their own firm, offering accounting, consulting or financial advisory services to clients. If you’re the kind of person who has an entrepreneurial spirit and you’re excited by the challenge of growing your own business from nothing, this could be the right pathway for you.
Work freelance from anywhere
Accounting and bookkeeping services can all be conducted online and over the phone. If you get the qualifications and education you need to offer these financial services, you can build a totally flexible, freelance career for yourself online.
Build your online profile, set up a website, bundle some services together into a package, market yourself and you’re ready to go. Offer your accounting services from a hotel anywhere in the world.
Work for environmentally sustainable and ethical organisations
If you have a particular passion for the environment, social justice or ethical business, you can carve out a niche for yourself by offering your financial services specifically to ethical businesses or organisations. Many non-profit organisations, renewable energy startups and social enterprises need help with accounting in order to grow their business or improve their bottom line.
Plus, there is a growing field of ethical banking and investment out there right now, with shareholders and investors increasingly conscious of the social and environmental impact of their investments. This career path could include working for:
- Ethical banks or investment funds
- Non-profit humanitarian organisations
- Environmental organisations
- Health and wellness organisations
- Ethical corporations
- Green energy tech startups
As you can see, there is a diverse range of career paths you can potentially take with a Master of Accounting that go beyond the provision of accounting or bookkeeping services.
However, if you do want to become an accountant or financial advisor, you should be aware that there may be some additional certifications you will need to have a career in that field in Australia.
For example, regulation prevents accountants from offering financial advice services, unless you choose a separate program to obtain a CFA certification, outside your master degree program.
Read on to find out more.
Can you become a qualified accountant with only a master of accounting?
The simple answer to that question is yes. In Australia, you are only required to have a minimum qualification of a Diploma of Accounting in order to become an accountant. Typically, to become an accountant in Australia you can choose to get:
- A Bachelor Degree in Accounting, Finance, or something similar
- A Diploma of Accounting
- A Master of Accounting
- Certificate IV in Accounting, Bookkeeping or something similar
If you wish to become a certified accountant, and you wish to register with the CPA or ICAA (see the next point for more information on these certifications) you will need to have a university level qualification; either a Bachelor of Accounting, or a Master of Accounting.
Professional certifications you need to become a certified or chartered accountant in Australia
You only need to apply for certification from a professional accounting body in Australia if you wish to become a certified or chartered accountant. There are several programs issuing these certificates: the CPA (Certified Practising Accountants), or CA ANZ (Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand) Program.
There are two different ways you can do this.
- Choose a university course or Master of Accounting degree which is already certified by one of these bodies. The Master of Professional Accounting at Torrens University is accredited by the CPA and CA ANZ.
- Apply to these organisations directly, after graduating from your studies.
Getting certification demonstrates that your performance as an accounting professional is regularly checked and regulated. Although it isn’t necessary to your career, certification provides employers and clients with certainty. This could be helpful, particularly if you want to work your way up into more senior roles within a company.