What is it with accountants?  Almost 30,000 professional accountants have migrated to Australia over the past three years to plug skills gaps – perhaps those 30,000 could foresee what we are all now realising, i.e., that Britain is bankrupt and to have any sort of positive future, you need to escape UK!

Or perhaps the story is somewhat simpler, these savvy number crunchers were well aware that they could receive a similarly handsome salary Down Under yet live for less, thereby enjoying a better quality of life by moving to Australia.

Well, whatever the reason, as the skilled migrant debate still rages Down Under, accountants remain in demand.  And in this article we’ll take a look at how best you can find and secure accountancy jobs in Australia now before any changes are potentially made to the numbers of those allowed into the nation, as it too suffers its own jobless increases and economic issues.

No first world nation is immune to the state of the global finance and credit market – Britain isn’t and Australia also isn’t.  So, whilst we may be guilty of blanket-assuming that anywhere has to be better than here, it’s actually important to think about emigration from a very realistic point of view before embarking upon it.  Yes the weather and way of life in Australia are better, and yes, at the moment there are accountancy jobs in Australia as well as jobs in hundreds of other skilled migrant category.  However, property prices are falling as the real estate market weakens, banks are refusing to lend and stalling business development, jobs are being slashed in some industries, and increasing numbers of expat Aussies are themselves returning home and looking for work.

What this means right now is that there is a debate going on about whether the Australian authorities should further limit, cap or even significantly reduce the numbers of residency and work visas it grants to skilled immigrants annually.  At the moment the strongest voices are against such a move – their argument being that Australia can now benefit substantially by really hand picking the cream of the expat crop.  If the country can unite behind this idea then yes, Australia could advance itself massively during these tough times by experiencing the complete opposite of a brain drain.  However, one has to remain realistic about it, and when local people’s jobs are on the line there will be pressure on the government to protect Australian jobs for Australian people.  What all this means is that if you want to emigrate Down Under, the sooner you begin looking for a job and applying for a visa the better.

If you’re an accountant and you want to live and work in Australia, the two most common ways of going about it are either by applying for a skilled migrant visa and then applying for jobs once you arrive, or, by seeking sponsorship from an employer by finding work before you relocate.  If you’re applying for a skilled migrant visa then you must have formal qualifications assessed by CPA Australia, (one of the 3 professional accounting bodies), and your qualifications must be seen to be as at least comparable to an Australian Bachelor degree.

Your qualifications must also include adequate coverage of at least 9 of the 12 core curriculum areas required for Associate membership, it’s worth noting that in this profession work experience is not accepted in lieu of formal qualifications, but when applying for a job it may well be required in addition to professional qualifications.  The CPA core curriculum areas are: basic accounting, financial and corporate accounting, current accounting issues, cost and management accounting, business finance, auditing, introductory law, economics, statistics, computer information systems, Australian taxation law and Australian company law.

Once you have had your qualifications assessed you will receive a full written assessment result indicating that your qualifications either meet or do not meet the requirement for the nominated ASCO occupation.  If you do meet the requirements then you submit the letter with your visa application, if you do not you will be given an indication of why and you may well be able to further study to plug any knowledge gaps you are deemed to have.  You can then reapply for assessment.

The other alternative you have is getting a job before you go – and you can do this by submitting your details to any one of the many specialist accountancy or financial recruitment companies such as: –


You can look in trade publications for advertised positions, target specific companies for jobs, look online for jobs being advertised, get on forums and ask expats already living and working in Australia for assistance, or you can attend the Opportunities Australia Expo and meet recruiters and employers face to face.

You really do have a myriad of options – although all require you to be proactive in your hunt for work.  And we too would urge you to be and to remain proactive if your dream really is to move Down Under – you’re not alone in sharing this dream, therefore in case Australia closes its doors to migrants in the near future, you need to get working on making your dream a reality as soon as possible.