Working in ANZ

Members in Australia & New Zealand have migrated from many countries – including the UK & Ireland, Central & Eastern Europe, South East Asia, China, the Indian sub-continent and Africa.

Local ACCA Members are employed across a wide spectrum of industries, organisations and Government departments. Our local Members include CEOs and CFOs in some of the leading Australian and New Zealand companies, but most hold middle management and professional roles in small, medium and large corporations and accounting practices.

Whilst it’s true that ACCA Members are usually successful in finding employment, it needs to be stressed that being a newly-arrived migrant in Australia & New Zealand can present many challenges, especially in getting your first locally-based finance role.

We have asked Members who have migrated to outline the reasons that they have struggled to find a job locally. These are the 5 main reasons as reported by ACCA Members –

  • A lack of local work experience
  • A lack of understanding of local tax and law regulations
  • In inability to communicate effectively and persuasively at interviews and demonstrate a track record of achievements
  • A CV that doesn’t fit with local requirements
  • A lack of recognition of the ACCA qualification

This section of the website has been designed to help you in each these areas.

Top Tip – Given the number of overseas qualified accountants who have come to Australia and New Zealand in recent years and the need to differentiate yourself, it is imperative that you ensure that can communicate in English fluently and persuasively.

THERE IS CURRENTLY AN OVERSUPPLY OF ACCOUNTANTS IN AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND!

Accounting and Finance remains on the Australian skilled occupation list. This leads many ACCA Members who are looking to migrate to Australia to believe that finding a job in finance will be easy. This is not the case! it is important to understand  that there is currently an oversupply of accountants and finance professionals in Australia.

There is a strong possibility that Accounting and Finance will drop off the skilled occupation list in coming years. In the meantime, the very bets advice that we can give to migrating ACCA Members is this; Be Prepared!

Be prepared that it will take some time for you to find a job, and it will take even longer to find your dream job. Be prepared to take temporary work to get your foot in the door. Be prepared for disappointment as many people apply for a small number of roles. And most importantly, be prepared before you arrive in Australia. Don’t think that just because you have been awarded a working visa you will find work easily. It’s not that simple!

LOCAL EXPERIENCE – HOW IMPORTANT IS IT?

Accountancy skills are highly transferable across borders.

Thousands of ACCA Members have migrated or been transferred in their jobs, not only into Australia and New Zealand, but globally. Newly arrived migrants often cite lack of local experience as a reason for not obtaining employment opportunities. Some employers have the perception that newly arrived migrants will have a steep learning curve to get up to speed on local knowledge. It is very important for applicants to be prepared to counter the misconception that a new migrant may be a more risky choice for a position than a local counterpart. Applicants must be able to paint a positive picture and turn a potential disadvantage into an opportunity.

Top Tip – Make sure that your CV focuses on your actual business experience, working in teams and soft skills. Don’t just list tasks! Employers in ANZ are looking for skills that are transferable to the local market.

STABILITY AND REFERENCES

Employers may have concerns that a newly arrived migrant is not personally settled and may take the first position offered as an interim measure, or stepping stone, to a better position.

As such, newly-arrived migrants  may need to convince the employer that the position is one they truly want. An applicant who is currently employed locally may appear to be a safer bet. In addition, being currently employed provides referees who can be easily contacted.

Applicants who can only supply overseas referees from past positions must ensure prospective employers are able to contact these referees easily. A written reference is always useful but may not provide the same degree of assurance as a conversation on the telephone.

Top Tip – Have your references ready! Include these with your CV and provide telephone numbers so that employers can actually talk to your referees.

TEMPORARY/CONTRACT WORK

One significant difference between Australia and other countries is the prevalence of temporary or contract work. Many migrating ACCA Members find this a little strange and are reluctant to take a role that isn’t ‘permanent’. The reality is that many roles that are advertised are on fixed term contracts (six months or 12 months is typical) or are classed as ‘temporary’ (meaning that they are reviewed every month or perhaps every 3 months). This is normal in Australia.

A temporary contract or a fixed term contract should be considered as an option to ‘get your foot in the door’. These kid of working arrangements will help you gain the much needed local market knowledge. Taking a temporary contract position provides an opportunity to obtain local experience, which may be helpful as an interim option.

Top Tip – It is always easier to look for a job whilst you are in a job. Think about taking a temporary position whilst still looking for permanent employment.

TAKING LOWER LEVEL POSITIONS

Applicants who are experiencing difficulties obtaining employment at the level of a qualified accountant may be offered positions at lower technician levels. It is advisable to resist this option as it poses the danger of becoming entrenched at a lower level. Short-term contracting may be a better option.

Download the ACCA Guide to Living and Working in Australia or New Zealand for more information on:

  • Where to live – major cities
  • Opening an Australian bank account
  • Applying for a tax file number
  • Superannuation
  • Health insurance, medical assistance and healthcare
  • Renting a property
  • Essential utility services
  • Motor vehicles
  • Bringing pets to Australia
  • Legal aid
  • Useful websites