Why Accounting Students Should Consider Association Membership and Industry-Focused Courses

Published 25 January 2018

There are many great reasons to study an Accounting course at Kaplan Business School. The career prospects are broad – ranging from forensic accounting to financial advising. There’s always a new challenge ahead. With the average weekly salary starting at $1400, it’s financially rewarding.

According to the latest Government projections, the accounting industry has strong growth projections estimated. New jobs and turnover from workers leaving may create more than 50,000 job openings by the year 2020. There’s also a lot of room for personal development and specialisation within the industry, with many firms starting to offer niche services.

If you’re planning on studying accounting, then you’ve probably already considered these benefits. But, you also know that in this competitive era you’re going to have to get an edge on all the other graduates. Here’s why you should factor industry-focused study and associations into your decision.

When educational institutions are assessed for the ‘employability’ of their graduates, the major factors that employers identify as important are industry experience and specialisation.

With many students now gaining employment directly as a result of work placements and internships, experience and networks have become the most important pathways to work. As well as having broad reaching internship programs, your accounting course should help you to get into an Association, as that’s an essential step towards your career. This may seem like common sense, but not every institution focuses as much as they should on these critical points.

When it comes to these essential employability factors, here are a few questions you should be asking your education provider.

  • What specific companies are you sending interns to?
  • What industry associations do you have relationships with?
  • Do you offer internships as an accredited part of your course?
  • Do you have an active careers service with demonstrated outcomes (such as KBS’s Careers Central)?
  • How closely does your teaching and content replicate the ‘real world’?
  • Are your teachers experienced in the industry?

If you want to graduate ‘industry ready’, you want your education experience to contain as much networking and work experience as possible. That’s the reason KBS has made it a focus to design courses that are industry relevant.

The best thing about Kaplan Business School’s Master of Professional Accounting is that they teach in a way that simulates real life situations in small classes, meaning that you’re immediately able to apply these skills to the outside world.

–  Jerry Wang, Master of Professional Accounting

When it comes to accounting associations, it’s essential in Australia to join one of the three major bodies; Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), CPA Australia (CPA), or Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ).

So, what’s the difference and what do you get when you join?

Of these associations, ACCA and CPA have the largest memberships and the biggest international reach. ACCA has more than 200,000 members across 180 countries, and CPA has more than 160,000 members across 125 countries. Each of them offers specific training programs and specialisations.

As a member, you’re continually updating your knowledge and you get to take advantage of the accreditation, professional networks and education opportunities offered exclusively to members.

Your association membership will shape your professional development and certification beyond graduation, so it’s absolutely crucial to think about your choices before you begin study.

KBS has close working relationships with CPA and ACCA, because of their international reach and the opportunities they offer. We’re proud that many of our graduates go on to become association members.

“I chose Kaplan Business School as I heard their courses do a great job of preparing you for the workforce. Since graduating, I’ve been able to achieve my dream of becoming an associate member of CPA Australia. If you’re looking for an industry-focused college with a relaxed and personable student environment, KBS is for you.”
– Julie Tang, Master of Professional Accounting 

Why become a CPA member? 

Internationally recognised, the CPA Program ensures you will be well equipped to tackle any of the challenging accounting, finance or business situations faced in today’s global marketplace. Providing you with more than a technical accounting focus, the CPA Program goes beyond the numbers, teaching the skills to help you reach the next level in leadership, strategy and business.

Amanda Taylor, former South Australian President for CPA Australia, shares her professional insights into how you can join.

Step 1: 

Complete a degree level qualification recognised by CPA Australia.

Step 2: Apply to become a Member

You become an Associate (ASA) to commence the CPA Program. As an Associate, you have six years to complete the CPA Program.

As an ASA, you also have access to the many benefits of membership. You will belong to a global network of CPA Australia members, and receive exclusive rates on products and services, discounts on professional development and access to valuable resources to enhance your career.

Step 3: Complete the CPA Program

The Program includes four compulsory subjects, two electives and an experience component that will give you the skills to stand out in the real world.

Step 4: Verify your experience

You need to gain 36 months of relevant experience where you will gain skills in four skill areas:

  • Technical
  • Personal effectiveness
  • Business
  • Leadership

You can complete these before, concurrently, or after your CPA Program subjects.

Step 5: You’re a CPA!

“I’ve been on the Divisional Council for CPA Australia for seven years now, and it’s wonderful to see students from KBS become members. The privilege of being a CPA is something you can cherish and take with you right through your career.”

— Amanda Taylor, Campus Manager at KBS Adelaide and 2017 South Australian President for CPA Australia.

Find out more about our Graduate Certificate, Bachelor and Master’s courses in Accounting today.