Accounting profession- Industry opportunities and employer requirements
Research and select an internship (or similar) or your dream graduate role. Investigate the industry expectations of your selected position.
- Personal soft skills (e.g. teamwork, enthusiasm)
- Job specific knowledge and skills (e.g. database management, customer service, bookkeeping, event management, social media campaign analysis)
Suitable methods for addressing this section and suggestions for suitable sources will be covered in seminars 1-2.
Suggested word count: 400 – 500 words
current capabilities, discipline knowledge and areas where you are developing
skills or knowledge.
- Complete the assessment tools in Career Guru and the Chandler Macleod sites. Make sure you save or take a screen shot of the results. Prepare a list or diagram showing your key findings. Full copies of these will be presented in your appendices.
- Review your experiences and identify relevant experiences and results that showcase your abilities. Note that you will have the opportunity in seminars to discuss these in groups, but suggestions may include community or volunteer activities, school leadership roles, sporting activities or casual work.
- Review your academic performance to date. Are there any units where you have done well, shown specific abilities, or particularly enjoyed?
- Discuss your key findings clearly demonstrating your strengths and areas for improvement.
In seminars 1-3 you will be introduced to a number of self-assessment tools and activities.
Suggested word count: 500 – 600 words
- What skills, experience and knowledge do you need to develop?
- Describe the skills and knowledge that you need to develop to meet industry standards.
- Propose strategies for developing your skills and knowledge. These may include academic studies, selecting a relevant major, work experience opportunities, volunteering, etc.
- Provide a timeline for the development of your skills and knowledge over the next 12 months.
Examples and suggestions will be covered in seminars 2-3 and in the group work covered in the seminars.
Suggested word count: 500 words
Accounting profession- Industry opportunities and employer requirements
1. Employer Expectations and Criteria
The accounting profession plays an integral role in the success of any organization. It ensures that organizations financial information is kept accurately, and is available for managers in decision making. Today, accounting goes beyond ensuring financial integrity, cutting across managerial roles and ensuring that the organizations strategic vision is backed by sound financial decisions. Due to the increasing number and significance of the roles played by accountants, more attention is now focused on the qualification and aptitude of accountants as organizations seek to engage the services of the most qualified and experienced accounting profession to handle their finance docket.
This paper is a reflection of a personal journey in search of how best I can focus my energies in the right areas, in my endeavor to excel as an accounting professional in the Australian oil industry. I sought to find establish the industry expectations of an accountant concerning skills sets, both soft skills and specific job requirements. A review of my current skills and knowledge, experience and aptitude vis a vis the specific industry expectations highlights areas of improvement, which should inform my next course of action in terms of knowledge, skills and experience acquisition.
1.1 The Accounting Profession
According to Cottrell (2015), accountants should be knowledgeable in accounting terminology, practices and procedures. This broadly means that an accountant must undergo the requisite training as prescribed in the Australian accounting regulatory body, which includes book keeping, database management and other IT tools, should be a person of integrity due to the sensitive nature of their jobs, must demonstrate unwavering commitment to their jobs, able to work in teams and must also be able to have great people skills.
The financial reporting council (2015) identifies the following as some of the key qualities that organizations look for, in an accountant. Besides possessing the requisite academic and professions, he/she should ensure;
Confidentiality- accounting information is very sensitive and should not be divulged to unintended users as the consequences may be detrimental. Accounting information should only be made available to the right people at the right time. An accountant must therefore be able to secure sensitive accounting information from unintended users.
Accountability and work ethic- accountants must be people of integrity and great work ethic. While this is a requirement for all staff in an organization, the stakes are higher for an accountant since the integrity of financial information would be cast into doubt if the holders of that office have integrity concerns.
Accountants must also possess excellent communication and problem solving skills and attention to detail, in order to be able to communicate financial information, both orally and in writing to other users of accounting information.
1.2 Expectations of the employer / chosen job
1.21 The Key Expectations and Criteria for (my chosen job/industry)
For one to be a successful accountant in the Australian oil and gas sector, which is my preferred industry, PWC (2015) advises that I need to have a broad understanding of the Australian oil and gas industry, have in-depth knowledge of the international financial reporting standards that apply to the oil industry, as well as specific knowledge of the Australian taxation system. I also need to be registered with either the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia or CPA Australia or any other recognized professional bodies.
2. Evaluation of My Skills and Capabilities
2.1 Academic Highlights
In my training, I have taken specific interest in accounting courses, exceling in financial accounting, financial management, auditing, taxation and financial modeling. I have had a few challenges in understanding some of the concepts taught in class, especially in financial modeling but with commitment and hard work, I have posted good grades. I have also performed well in business related units such as international business, commercial law, business studies, which I believe is important as the accounting profession works hand in hand with other units in organizations, knowledge of which is helpful in integrating the accounting department with other units.
Seeking guidance from my lecturers on how best to approach my studies has assisted me to maintain a positive outlook even in the hardest of situations which has been key to my progress.
2.2 Personal Skills and Abilities
The findings of my personal evaluation indicate that I have good skills level in accounting, have performed fairly well in my studies and I portray a positive attitude and commitment to the profession. I am fairly knowledgeable in several accounting software such as QuickBooks, Sage Pastel, Accpac among others but there is still a lot to learn especially regarding the operations of the oil and gas sector in Australia. I am also wanting in working experience, seeing that I have not held the accounting position before, although I have assisted in various accounting roles at our local store where I interned in spring.
2.3 Current experiences
While I am not very knowledgeable in practical accounting work, and especially in the oil and gas sector, I take keen interest in the sector and would love to be a successful executive in one of the leading oil and gas companies in Australia. For instance, in a recent career fair by one of the leading oil companies, Apache Corporation, I was among the few students who fully participated in the event, taking vital notes and contacts of several executives in the company. I also got the opportunity to interact with and ask the relevant questions regarding the accounting profession in the petroleum sector.
I got to learn that the oil and gas sector plays a very important role in the economy, creating many employment opportunities each year. I also got to establish the requirements for me to get employment opportunity in the sector, which informs my commitment to be the best in all areas of my professional life so that I could stand a better chance to secure a place in this prestigious institution.
This coming summer, I have been invited to volunteer as a treasurer at one of the local youth soccer leagues. I expect that I shall be able to not only ensure proper accountability for the finances, but I shall also be able to furnish the management committee with up to date financial reports and accompanying analyses. This will not only be useful to the league, but will also serve to refresh and better my skills in financial reporting and management.
3.My Action Plan
3.1 Focus for Development
As noted above, specific skills, experience and qualifications are required for one to excel as an accountant in the oil and gas industry in Australia. Towards this end, I need to take a keen interest in the affairs of the oil and gas industry, paying closer attention to the legal and regulatory changes that take place in the industry such as taxation. This should enable me have broad knowledge base of the operations of the industry, which would make it easier for me to learn much faster if and when I am hired to work in the industry.
I will also need to meet the minimum academic and professional requirements which include a degree in the relevant field, preferably accounting and finance, Association of Chartered accountants (Australia) certification and at least some experience in the industry, which could be got from my engagement in smaller players in the industry or an internship opportunity within the sector.
3.2 My Selected development Activities
I am also need to work towards developing excellent communication and presentation skills, which I am informed will be relevant in ensuring that I am able to communicate financial information both orally and in writing to the relevant users. I believe that qualities such as confidentiality, integrity, commitment and work ethic are already part of me, as is evidenced above.
On my academic and professional qualifications, I intend to register for my ACCA course immediately after my degree and subsequently register with ACCA Australia after gaining the relevant experience. I also purpose to excel in my degree course with a high GPA of at least 3.5 so as to ensure that I am way above the competition in any selection process.
As explained above, I shall volunteer as a treasurer at our local soccer league, a position that will expose me to some relevant accounting procedures such as double entry accounting which will prepare me for further learning. I also purpose to intern in one of the leading oil and gas companies so that I can gain first-hand experience on the operations of the oil sector.
3.3 My Timeline
The following table summarizes my action plan timeline. While it’s a projection of future expected events, all efforts shall be made to ensure that this time plan is adhered to, and that all the items shall be actualized within the timeframe.
|Deakin Activities||Work towards my degree||Work towards my degree||Register and work towards qualifying as an ACCA|
|Other Activities||Register for communication and public speaking classes||Volunteer at my local soccer league as treasurer||Intern at a local oil company|
This self-evaluation and assessment assignment has is very helpful in gauging my skills and knowledge portfolio in relation to my preferred profession and industry. It has helped me identify my skills gaps and areas of improvements, while at the same time assisting me to generate ideas and strategies that are helpful in gaining the required knowledge, skills and knowledge relevant for me to excel as an accountant in the oil industry. I believe that if these strategies are successfully implemented, I shall stand a better chance of seizing one of the few employment opportunities of employment in the oil and gas sector.
Cottrell, S. 2015. Skills for Success. Personal Development and Employability. Palgrave. (ISBN 9781137426529)
Dwyer, J 2015, Personal Insights Strategies and Skills MWL101, Pearson Australia, Melbourne.
Graduate Careers Australia Publication: Graduate Outlook 2014, Employers’ Perspective on Graduate Recruitment in Australia
The financial reporting council (2015) Key facts and trends in the accountancy profession. Retrieved from: http://www.frc.org.uk/
Eltaib,E.E (2012)Environmental disclosures for Australian oil and gas companies. University of Wollowing
PWC (2015). Financial reporting in the oil and gas industry, international financial reporting standards. Available at http://www.pwc.com/gx/en/industries/energy-utilities-mining/oil-gas-energy/publications/financial-reporting-oil-gas-industry.html