Job Prospects... At a glance
Job prospects for a career in accounting are good, and should remain so because of growing demand for accounting services and financial advice.
This career usually requires a degree, and your job prospects are better with membership of a professional accounting body. Becoming a professionally qualified accountant requires work experience and some further study.
Accountants prepare financial accounts for businesses and individuals. They also advise on financial matters, such as tax and reporting compliance requirements.
Being a Chartered Accountant (CA) or Certified Practising Accountant (CPA) gives you a recognised base of knowledge that can lead to a successful career in commerce, business and finance. Many of New Zealand's largest companies have CAs or CPAs as chief financial officers and some are chief executives.
According to the latest information from the New Zealand and Australian online job ads, some of the top skills employers look for include:
Source: Burning Glass Technologies’ Labor Insight™ Real-time Labor Market Information tool
Accountants usually require a commerce degree majoring in accounting or finance.
Most people working as accountants are also members of either Chartered Accountants Australia & New Zealand (CA ANZ) or CPA Australia. This is because membership is preferred by employers.
To become a professionally qualified accountant you need to complete EITHER:
AND the CA ANZ or CPA Program, which includes a series of modules of further study, plus practical experience.
|Bachelor of Commerce||CA/CPA Programme|
|$19,500 over three years||$6,500 - $7,400|
Average costs in 2018 for a domestic student. Costs vary between institutions. First time students may be eligible for fees-free
tertiary education for their first year of study, which will reduce the total cost. For more information about fees-free eligibility, go to feesfree.govt.nz. Some polytechnics may have a zero-fees scheme. Further costs include materials, textbooks, and accommodation.
Rents vary from place to place. Estimated market rents by region, city and suburb are available on the MBIE Tenancy Services website.
The StudyLink website provides general budget advice for students, and the Sorted website provides help with detailed budget planning.
Accounting and finance can be studied at tertiary institutions throughout New Zealand. If you are looking to become a professionally qualified accountant, you'll need to study at an approved tertiary institution. A list of these can be found on either the CA ANZ or CPA websites.
CA ANZ-approved accountancy programmes: https://www.charteredaccountantsanz.com/become-a-member/entry-requirements/chartered-accountant/recognised-qualifications
CPA-approved accountancy programmes: https://www.cpaaustralia.com.au/ManageApplications/AccreditedCourse.mvc/SearchAccreditedCourses
The number of students completing accountancy qualifications has been relatively steady over the past few years.
Completed qualifications chart
Source: Ministry of Education
In 2017, the average income for accountants was estimated to be around $66,300, but not all of these people will be professionally qualified accountants. The average income for fully qualified accountants is $140,700.
|Estimated Average Income|
Source: MBIE estimates based on Statistics NZ Census and Labour Cost Index
Source: Statistics NZ Census and MBIE projections. Percentages are compound annual growth rates.
*Growth projections are for the broader category “Accountants, Auditors and Company Secretaries”.
Employment numbers for accountants were stable between 2006 and 2013. Towards 2026, demand for accountants is expected to rise by around 3% each year as the economy continues to improve. A quite high proportion of accountants leave New Zealand to work overseas, which also creates vacancies.
Source: Statistics NZ Census and MBIE projections
|Overseas||In further study||Receiving a benefit||In employment||Median Salary|
Source: Tertiary Education Commission
*Three years after completion of Bachelor Degree - Accountancy.
A large majority of graduates were in employment three years after completing a bachelor’s degree in accounting. Some were overseas or in further study. The median salary was around $54,000 three years after graduation.
Accountants are not on Immigration New Zealand's immediate skill shortage list.
Immigration NZ, skill shortage list: skillshortages.immigration.govt.nz
The number of online job advertisements for accountants fell from 2012 to 2014, but there has been some growth since then.
Jobs advertised chart
Source: Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment
Accountancy vacancies are advertised through websites such as Trade Me Jobs and Seek and, increasingly, through social media like LinkedIn.
A career in accountancy is more diverse than many people think. Accountants work in a range of industries including government, law, entertainment and advertising, as well as in small and medium accountancy practices and the large accountancy and finance companies.
After fundamental skills are learned, accountants often look to specialise into roles such as:
The following occupations are related roles or alternative titles. Some of the roles may require a higher level of skill than entry level accountants.
More information on accountancy is available on the Careers New Zealand website.
Careers New Zealand: www.careers.govt.nz
More information on becoming a professionally qualified accountant is available on the following websites:
The Australian New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) is the official classification of occupations in New Zealand.
The occupation of accountants has been coded to the following ANZSCO codes for the purpose of this report:
2211 – Accountants
551 – Accounting Clerks and Bookkeepers