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An accounting degree should be seen as an essential toolkit for a wide range of business careers to attract students to courses, says managing partner of Mazars’ Sydney office, Matthew Ashley.

Speaking on the latest Accountants Daily podcast, Mr Ashley said the stilted image of accountants did not reflect the modern reality of what the qualification could offer.

To attract students, “there should be a greater focus on what it means to do an accounting degree and, more importantly, what you can do with it,” he said.

“I think there’s this misconception that if you’re doing accounting, you’re this traditional bean counter, sitting there doing tax returns and counting things where most of my friends with whom I worked and with whom I did cadets are not really doing accounting anymore.

“They work in commerce, they work in banks, they run businesses – studying and learning accounting and then going on and doing your CA or CPA gives you a huge base to do whatever you want to do.”

He said there also needed to be more emphasis on the attractiveness of accounting degrees to a wide variety of employers.

“If you’re an employer, if you’re looking at someone, regardless of their industry, and they have five or six years of experience in accounting, they have a degree in accounting or the equivalent in business, and has done their CA or CPA, it’s such a good foundation and basic skills that can be deployed in any industry.

“So I think there needs to be a bigger push in terms of where it can take you and that doesn’t necessarily mean a long-term career in public practice.

“I chose this path because it is something that I love and that I am really passionate about. But it’s not for everyone. »

He added that another factor was how quickly traditional accounting roles themselves were changing.

“It’s a fascinating place right now. If I look back over the last five years, where we are now, it’s wildly different and changing rapidly with the likes of ESG and sustainability…

“Where it’s going there’s going to be a lot more emphasis on that piece of advice, there’s going to be a bigger emphasis not just on being able to deliver a service, but actually on advice. The added value is going to be greater than ever.

“In such a rapidly changing environment, obtaining truly relevant external advice is more essential than ever.”

Accounting should stand as the essential business toolkit

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Last update: September 19, 2022

Posted: September 19, 2022

Philip King

Philip King


Philip King is editor of Accountants Daily and SMSF Adviser, the leading sources of news, information and educational content for professionals in the accountancy and SMSF industries.

Philip joined the Securities in March 2022 and brings extensive experience from various roles at Australian daily newspaper The Australian National Broadsheet, most recently as Automotive Editor. His background also includes spells in various consumer and trade magazines.

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