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Occupation description

Accountants plan and provide systems and services relating to the financial dealings of an organisation and its employees. They also advise on associated record-keeping and compliance requirements. There are many areas in accounting and the following are the most typical in the rail industry.

  • Financial accountant:  This role has a more transactional focus, dealing with compliance and external reporting functions. You will perform accounting functions for financial segments of business including assisting prepare and analyse monthly financial and management reports.
  • Commercial accountant: This role is generally less transactional and more strategic or operational focused. You would normally take a support role within a business. Primarily, you will be attached to a particular division, such as marketing, assets and infrastructure, circulation or operations. Your role will involve providing ad hoc commercial information to operation managers. You will liaise on a daily basis with non-finance professionals and perhaps rail’s commercial or business partners or government.
  • Management accountant: Like commercial accountants, this role is generally less transactional and more strategic or operationally focused. You would use current figures and be expected to look for ways of saving your organisation money and improving profitability and growth. This could involve small changes like switching suppliers, or larger changes like bringing in new procedures or partnerships with other rail or non-rail businesses.
  • Tax accountant: The tax accountant position is accountable for collecting tax-related information, reporting to taxation authorities in a timely manner, and advising management on the tax impact of various corporate strategies.

Knowledge, skills and attributes

Good maths and computer skills, analytical and logical problem solving skills, and business understanding are required.

Working conditions

As an accountant, you'll generally work standard hours Monday to Friday. It can get pretty busy at month-end and year-end so you should expect to put in a few extra hours at these times. Although accounting is an office-based job, you won’t be chained to your desk as accountants attend many meetings.

Entrance requirements and ongoing training and development

An accountant would be required to have a bachelor degree or higher qualification. Registration or licensing is required and there are a number of professional accounting bodies. Overseas accountants need to have their skills recognised by a professional accounting body. See details below.

The value of a career in the rail industry

For even more details on what you might earn, the diversity of companies you could work for and the career opportunities available, visit the following careers and training websites. Careers in Rail by the Australasian Railway Association; About the Rail Industry by Rail Skills Australasia and Rail Training by the Transport and Logistics Industry Skills Council (TLISC).

For more information

Career paths

Typically, you will start in an entry level role as a graduate or assistant accountant and progress through to a senior accountant. Your specialisation and work experience will influence your career options. Two options are shown below, depending if you specialise in finance and commercial accounting or management accounting.   Once in the rail industry, to progress your career you will need to complete additional studies or authorisations which will depend on organisational and state requirements.

This information is generic. Job titles and the experience and qualifications needed to move into other jobs may vary depending on the structure and needs of your organisation and government rules and regulations. 

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Career Path Flowchart

Typical career path for an accountant

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