Accounting for Advancement?

Thinking of doing further study to become a professional? Before deciding on the discipline to study, let’s consider what kind of profession will always be in demand. Would you agree “accounting” is one of those? Irrespective of the economic cycle, businesses will always need accountants to keep the books and report financial performance.

There are a number of universities and higher-education providers in Australia offering postgraduate degrees in accounting. Most, if not all, of these programs are accredited by CPA Australia and Chartered Accountants Australia & New Zealand, the two most prominent professional accounting bodies in Australia. After graduation, completion of professional examinations and gaining relevant experience, you will qualify as a professional accountant. Whether you pursue your career in a public accounting firm or the commercial sector, the sky is the limit. You may ultimately become an equity partner of a Big Four accounting firm or the CFO of a global company. Some of the astute accountants may advance to be the CEO of the organisation. According to a recent research by Robert Half, a renowned recruitment agency, 47% of Australia’s current ASX 200 CEOs have held prior roles in finance, financial services or accounting.

In the old days, accountants are often dubbed number-crunchers. This misconception arises probably due to unfamiliarity of the accounting profession. A smart accountant can not only crunch numbers, provide meaningful information for decision-making, but also run a business.

So are you smart enough to be a professional accountant?

Stay Focused on Your Studies

There is a phrase called ‘Decision Fatigue’ which may be weighing you down. I first heard about this procrastination phenomenon in a talk by Kerwin Rae. It is based on the principle that we spend so much time thinking about what to do, instead of doing what we wanted in the first place, that we waste time. How can we stop being unsure what to study and just start studying? It is never too late to organise your time! One approach is to divide your module across calendar weeks available and then split those into days. 

Find Time in Your Calendar

Much of my time listening to audios or exposing myself to external wider reading and lectures is spent whilst doing a mundane activity I can’t avoid such as brushing teeth or cooking pasta. These little ten minute bursts can add up to another 20 hours of study, and enhance my exposure to the topic, leading to better understanding. A commute can be an excellent opportunity – putting down Facebook on the train and using that hour to read the core text book is invaluable.

Have a Study Method

Routine has been a saviour of study for me. Creating good healthy study habits has made it so much easier to ‘get down to work’ and be in the mental zone with limited procrastination. I study for four hours a day approximately, but try not to set yourself goals by time, or you could find yourself watching paint dry and counting it as four hours study. It is much better to study a certain topic or certain activity before taking a break.

Keep Focused and Track Progress

Drinking two litres of water a day and having a sleep schedule has drastically improved my focus and ability to concentrate, but more so having a set plan already in place, I no longer open my books and waste precious time wondering what to do or where to focus. I can look at my chart and see exactly what I need to do and get started straight away.

After all the hard work, it’s very rewarding to cross off the topics on your calendar to show how far you have come. This can help keep you on track and stay motivated and give you the best chance of success.

After all the hard work, it's very rewarding to cross off the topics on your calendar to show how far you have come.

A few of my friends are also studying, not at the same university or even the same course, but having other friends who I can ‘study buddy’ with or check in, keeps us all determined and on track. Scheduling in catch-up time can give much needed respite without panic. This keeps your goals realistic and manageable.

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Why Working in Group?

While students are completing their enrolled units, in addition to individual work, very often they will be asked to form into groups for presentation or