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Career Spotlight: Accounting

Studying in the field of accounting can provide a very rewarding career, as there are so many choices in the Financial Sector. Accounting is a field that will always be in demand and once you have completed your basic accounting qualification, the possibilities are endless.

Almost every business requires an accountant and you could work in any sector, anywhere in the world. There is also a very good opportunity to set up as an independent sole practitioner, owning your own business.

Accounting is not a boring office job in itself, but it does require a lot of administrative skills which are sometimes associated with a boring job. At Edu-Profile we will recommend a career in accounting to the more structured brain profiles with a dominant right eye which is strong in seeing detail.

The following attributes are essential if you are considering to study in this direction:

  • Good with numbers and mathematics

  • Methodical and analytical

  • Neat

  • Accurate

  • Able to concentrate for long periods at a time

  • Intelligent and logical

  • Computer literate

  • Trustworthy

  • Hard worker

  • Deadline orientated

  • Good social & communication skills

Careers in Accounting can range from entry level clerk positions to executive management positions. Herewith a list of careers to follow:

  • Accountant

  • Accounting Assistant

  • Accounting Clerk

  • Accounting Manager

  • Accounts Payable Clerk

  • Accounts Receivable Clerk

  • Bookkeeping

  • Budget Analyst

  • Certified Internal Auditor

  • Chief Financial Officer

  • Forensic Accountant

  • Tax Practitioner

  • Chartered Accountant

Accounting has become an exciting career that involves working with the latest accounting software, staying up to date with rapidly changing business and professional trends and the possibility to fill senior management positions.

Currently there is a shortage of chartered accountants in South Africa, which makes it one of the highest paid professions in the country.

Accountants and Auditors help to ensure that companies are run more efficiently, particularly from a financial point of view, so that a country's public records are kept accurately and that taxes are paid properly and on time.

What does an Accountant do?

  • Analyses, interprets and compares facts and figures of the company

  • Studies figures and shares information with managers so they can make the right business decisions

  • Prepares budgets

  • Manages cash flow

  • Manages investments

  • Controls debt collection

  • Monitors risk management

  • Keeps up to date with industry laws and bylaws

  • Prepares annual financial reports

  • Prepares figures for tax purposes

What must I study to become an accountant?

There are a few training options to become an accountant:

  • The minimum requirements for university admission are a Level 5 pass in Mathematics, together with a National Senior Certificate with matriculation exemption. You need to take pure Mathematics (not Mathematical Literacy) as a subject.

  • A good grounding in English is essential, as it will help you to understand the concepts you will study.

  • Having Accounting as a school subject could help you in your studies towards your degree, but at most universities this is not compulsory.

  • You must obtain an APS score of at least 34.

  • A variety of diploma and degree courses are available to start your career in accounting.

  • A B.Com Degree in Accounting can be obtained at most of the larger universities in South Africa. This is a 3 year degree.

  • Subjects during the degree: Accounting, Economics, Management Accounting and Finance, Commercial Law, Business Enterprise Law, Taxation, Computational Mathematics, Mercantile Law, Auditing, Internal Auditing Business Statistics, Fundamental or Information Systems, Marketing, Human Resources.

  • The B.Com Accounting degree is a basic degree that will assist you in obtaining a job or an internship at an accounting firm like KPMG, Price Waterhouse Cooper, and Deloitte & Touche.

  • Should the student want to obtain a post-graduate qualification they can choose between the following : B-Com Honours Accountancy (Non Chartered Accountant Route) or Higher Diploma in Accountancy (Chartered Accountant Route) which is a 1 year course.

  • If you want to become a Chartered Accountant make sure that the university you are applying to offers qualifications / programmes that are accredited by the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA).

  • Working in this industry can be very stressful especially during tax season and financial year end periods. It requires a lot of dedication and you must have a passion working with figures. It is a challenging but rewarding field of study.

According to the current salaries in accounting is as follows:

Accounting- and Auditing Clerk is:

  • between R58 000 – R175 000 p/a

  • Average R100 000 p/a

The salary for an Accounting Manager is:

  • between R145 000 – R565 000 p/a

  • Average R300 000 p/a

And the salary for a Chartered Accountant is:

  • between R150 000 – R780 000 p/a

  • Average R440 000 p/a

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