As the old cliché says: ‘There’s no such thing as a silly question’. Here are some of the frequently asked questions we hear from accountants, experienced and aspiring.
What are the advantages of working in public practice accounting?
There are a number of advantages to working in a public practice accounting firm. At Matthews Steer for example our accountants work with clients from a wide range of industries. That means a wide variety of work and challenges, with no two days the same. Public practice firms also offer the opportunity to specialise. Matthews Steer comprises three divisions: Taxation and Accounting, Wealth Management, and Business Advisory, each offering a wide range of services, and specialises in industries including transport, food manufacturing, property development, healthcare, engineering, construction and recruitment. Public practice generally offers better job advancement opportunities. At Matthews Steer we offer every employee a structured career path, with many roles offering a defined pathway to becoming a partner in our firm. Finally, public practice tends to offer a broader network. At Matthews Steer we’re part of the broader AZNGA group with all the knowledge, scale and growth potential that implies. As a member of our team, accountants at Matthews Steer have the opportunity to gain broad exposure within a private firm. We don’t believe in pigeon holing, and the size of our business, our structure and our purpose enables our people to grow, develop and live their potential as individuals and accounting professionals in a secure, supportive environment.
What is the ideal accounting career path?
The ideal accounting career path really depends on your personal goals and aspirations. Do you have a technical mindset and an appetite for tackling complex accounting challenges, or are you a creative, looking to innovate and make a real impact on the success of the company you work at? The trick is to find a firm that will support you to shape your own ideal career. At Matthews Steer we treat our people as more than just a number. We prioritise a healthy workplace culture with Our hybrid working arrangements that allow our people to balance career, personal needs, family needs, and exercise.
Teamwork is paramount, and we surround ourselves with like-minded people at the top of their game, and we encourage our partners and colleagues to jump in and help each other out.
In an industry that’s constantly evolving and changing, the size of our business enables a flexible approach to career progression, and ensures our staff are relevant and marketable at all times. Our structured training and a defined career pathway mean our people can set their own career goals and progress at their own pace, making them the masters of their own destiny. And, we balance the demands of fast-paced career development by taking the time to stop and celebrate promotions, and to recognise and reward colleagues’ achievements.
Do I need a CA or CPA qualification?
If you have completed your accounting degree a post graduate qualification is not obligatory, but a Chartered Accountant (CA) or Certified Practicing Accountant (CPA) qualification will give you a competitive edge over someone with an undergraduate degree. If you are looking to specialise in a particular function, a CA qualification may be the choice for you. The CA course is heavily geared to auditing and taxation preparing graduates with the practical, hands-on knowledge they need to tackle complex accounting issues. In contrast a CPA qualification offers a more diverse focus on practice areas including planning, marketing, costing and production, equipping graduates with an innovative mindset that may lead to a more strategic or managerial role within the business.
At Matthews Steer a CA or CPA qualification is compulsory for all of our accountants, and we offer a structured professional development program and provide support for selected professional development studies, whether our people choose the CA or CPA pathway.
How to start a career in accounting with no experience?
Whether you’re contemplating an accounting career, completing your undergraduate studies or about to embark on post graduate accounting qualifications, the best way to get experience in the field of accounting is through an internship or work placement. In fact, mentored practical experience is a condition of attaining both a CA and a CPA post graduate qualification. Work placements ensure your learning is applied in a professional context. They also enable you to develop and demonstrate competency in a range of technical accounting areas including taxation, financial management, external reporting, and accounting information systems, as well allowing you to hone your teamwork, organisational, research, evaluation, communication and decision making skills.
How to excel in an accounting career?
Work for an accounting firm that is proactive about coaching and mentoring. At Matthews Steer we recognise that your job satisfaction, work-life balance and wellbeing is paramount to the success of our business. Our coaching program is highly prized by our team, providing insight, wisdom, business and life skills, a trusted sounding board, support, and practical advice on professional development topics. After all, who better to show you the ropes than the people who have walked your career path ahead of you? Our coaching program ensures our people have wide-ranging experience and well-rounded capabilities and, when you work at Matthews Steer, you’ll have the opportunity to be both a coachee and a coach as your career progresses.
What is the future of accounting career?
With COVID uncertainty overshadowing many industries, it’s only natural to ask yourself if accounting is a secure choice of career? Happily, demand for quality accountants is at an all-time high, fuelled by the perpetual need for a wide range of accounting services that far exceeds the traditional tax and compliance generally associated with the accounting profession.
Accounting is one of few careers that thrives in spite of the prevailing economic trajectory… or perhaps because of it! In good times demand is high for accountants that can provide tax and accounting, business advisory and wealth management services for individuals and businesses. And, in tough economic times, businesses become eligible for economic stimulus packages and debt relief. Through it all tax and compliance obligations still have to be met. So, no matter how good or bad the economy, the job market for qualified accountants will always be strong.
Is chartered accountant a good career?
Becoming a CA or a CPA is a great career if you have an eye for detail and a service-orientated mindset. While numbers are the foundation of any accountancy firm, accounting is a people business and, whatever direction you take your career, your primary function will be to help your clients achieve their financial goals. Accountants also need to be vigilant; staying abreast of the latest tax and compliance laws and regulations, innovative in problem solving to tackle the wide range of challenges they’re faced with on a day-to-day basis, reliable and trustworthy; adhering to the highest ethical standards, and organised to cope with the volume and variety of work that comes their way.
Interested in joining our team at Matthews Steer. To view current roles, or register your interest for a position at Matthews Steer, please visit our careers page.