But with that, comes a range of terms which can be difficult to understand. Read our glossary to learn more:
Accounting information systems: Computerised accounting systems are essential for all organisations these days. An information systems stream will introduce students to the systems, software, decision support tools and documentation. It will often include hands-on experience with the various programs used, as well as related topics such as fraud and crime.
Advanced accounting: As the name suggests, advanced accounting looks at emerging issues in accounting and finance – such as environmental impacts, the latest theories, and what’s happening overseas.
Assistant Accountant: An assistant accountant works with more senior financial staff, performing general accounting tasks. An assistant may be only partly qualified, or at the beginning of their career.
Audit Accountant: An audit accountant can work internally (as an employee) or externally (as an advisor). Their role is to review how a company operates, and evaluate its efficiency, effectiveness and compliance with policies or regulations.
Auditing and assurance: If an organisation is to be profitable, and comply with any business, ethical or legal obligations, it needs to be professionally audited. This type of stream will look at how companies are audited, measured, tested and assessed.
Bookkeeper: Although an entry-level role into accounting, a bookkeeper is invaluable to any organisation. It’s their job to make sure every dollar is accounted for, such as expenses, invoices and income. All other business and financial decisions are based on the accuracy of their work.
Business/Commercial law: The laws regulating organisations can be a minefield. Understanding the key elements of business law, the regulation of companies and how they are applied is vital. This stream will cover areas such as negligence, trade practices, director’s duties, insolvency and more.
Chief Financial Officer (CFO): The CFO is the most senior financial professional within an organisation. Their job is not just to oversee the financial health of a business, but to provide financial and business insights to help other senior managers make more informed decisions.
Company Accountant: A company accountant is the person who looks after a company or organisation’s accounts.
Controller/Comptroller: A comptroller, also known as a controller, is the chief accountant in a business, government or organisation. They oversee and look after the work of other accounting staff, reviewing it and providing reports to other senior managers. They are also responsible for compliance with any laws and regulations, as well as reporting to outside organisations and the tax department.
Cost Accountant: Also known as a Management Accountant, a cost accountant works within a business to help them set and understand budgets, develop financial policies and liaise with other senior managers. They play a key role in helping organisations set forecasts, uncover new initiatives, and advise on how to improve performance.
Credit Analyst: A credit analyst looks at an organisation’s financial information, and assesses the risk of offering credit to a business or to a person.
Credit Controller: A credit controller’s role is to manage the money owed to an organisation, or the money it owes.
Economics: No business or government can operate in a vacuum. Regional, national and international economics – such as interest rates, supply and demand, and international currency – all effect how an organisation succeeds. An economic stream will introduce the basic foundations of economic thought, philosophy and principles.
Financial Accountant: A financial accountant’s role is to control the day-to-day financial management of an organisation, as well as help advise on the strategic direction and administration.
Financial accounting: A financial accounting stream will provide an overview of Australian reporting standards, reporting requirements and preparing financial statements. It may also include more advanced topics such as derivatives, foreign currency and joint ventures.
Forensic Accountant: A Forensic Accountant is part detective, part lawyer, part accountant. They tend to be involved when there may be an issue of fraud or of legal action. Through analysis and investigation, they aim to find out what happened in the past, and uncover the truth behind financial and business actions.
Government Accountant: A government accountant provides similar skills and services as a cost or management accountant, but with the added responsibility to look after the best interests of not only government but the public. A key part of their role is to ensure laws, regulations and tax obligations are being met.
Cost Accountant: Also known as a Management Accountant, a Cost accountant works within a business to help them set and understand budgets, develop financial policies and liaise with other senior managers. They play a key role in helping organisations set forecasts, uncover new initiatives, and advise on how to improve performance.
Cost/Management accounting: Management accounting is a way to help business decision makers by providing meaningful financial information. This stream will cover off such topics as pricing and costing, setting and maintaining budgets, payroll, compliance and financial statement analysis.
Public Accountant: A public accountant provides accounting services to any individual, business, organisation or government department that approaches them. This makes their role more varied and, perhaps, more fulfilling. They tend to work for themselves or in public practices.
Reporting Accountant: A reporting accountant analyses an organisation’s finances, reviews them, and then reports back to key people or personnel, such as company directors.
: A superannuation accountant specialises in the financial management of super or pension funds.
Systems Accountant: A systems accountant looks at an organisation’s accounting and financial systems, providing a review of the existing processes and procedures, and suggesting ways they can be improved. They may also help implement any new systems, and advise on budgets and business performance.
Tax Accountant: A tax accountant specialises in tax advise, strategies and reporting for individuals, businesses or government. They not only need a thorough understanding of the tax regulations, but also of the economy in general.
Taxation law: Taxes play a huge role for organisations. This stream will explain the Australian tax system, including specifics such as GST, fringe benefits tax, superannuation and capital gains. It should also identify and explain basic tax concepts, and provide practical examples.