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Embrace the power of the written word and discover how your flair for writing could lead to an exciting new career as a journalist, magazine editor or children's author. Australian College of Journalism is part of Open Colleges, Australia's leading provider of online education. Read more

Christine Rocha

“I wanted to do a course that would help me translate my work in Nutrition for a broader audience. I found this online non-fiction writing course and I thought perfect, I can do it in my own time.”
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“I have been playing with cameras for as long as I can remember. It’s inspiring watching the way my photos are transforming through the shoot and the editing process.”
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Yvonne Mes

“It went really well, I enjoyed the material and assignments. The feedback from my trainer was extremely helpful and included many handouts that were relevant to writing for children. And now I have received an initial offer of purchase for my story!"
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Editing & Proofreading

Have you got an eagle eye for grammar, punctuation and perfect prose? Like helping writers refine their craft and get the best possible message across? Then Editing and Proofreading could be the right path for you, whether you want to work towards working as a freelance professional, or just sharpen your own way with words.

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Journalism

Got a nose for news or a way of telling stories about current affairs, travel, sport, or more, that engages audiences? Want to learn the business side of journalism and photojournalism as well as refining your techniques and talent? Then a journalism course with the Australian College of Journalism might be for you. 

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Writing & Communication

If you've got a way with words, we've got courses that could help you turn your raw potential into a profession. With courses across creative writing, script writing, and non-fiction writing, and specialist courses in writing fantasy, romance and writing for children, we'll help you find and refine your style, and bring your stories to life.

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Latest News & Articles View all

  • The Future of AccountingRead More

    Following on from our discussion on The Future of Bookkeeping, is The Future of Accounting. Accounting and bookkeeping are closely related professions with many interlacing facets. The majority of accountants do bookkeeping and the majority of bookkeepers also do some accounting work.

    Is accounting dead?

    Thanks to the cloud and new advances in technology, consulting, business advisory firms and even business owners are beginning to use new software and analytical tools to provide accounting services, limiting the need for traditional accountants. These new technological advances make bookkeeping, tax preparation and similar duties simpler and a lot cheaper, reducing demand for lower-value accounting services. Many of these services, including data entry are becoming less profitable and in time are exceedingly likely to disappear due to automation, the cloud and outsourcing. Accounting practices that rely on charging substantial amounts for desktop software are also predominantly at risk.

    Accounting in the cloud

    Only a few years ago bookkeepers and accountants would need to spend up big to provide the best possible financial suite to service their clients. The new cloud platform, providing professional finance and accounting tools to anyone with a meagre $70 a month or so has completely wiped out that old business model. These technological advances will continue at an accelerated pace over the next decade, providing even more innovative applications, combined with better analytical tools, larger data sets and mobile computing to drastically transform the industry.

    These new technologies will not only change the way the books are kept and financial information is stored but will create an entirely new business environment, allowing greater flexibility to professionals with when and where the work is done. With the development of real-time information and automation, being onsite will become significantly less important and will greatly reduce the time needed for data validation.

    Due to these advances, accountants are now able to take on more clients than ever and provide services globally. According to Sarah Engle, the owner of Black River Tax Prep, “Technology has expanded the traditional boundaries associated with the profession. Mobile devices and cloud computing, for instance, allow small and mid-size accounting firms to broaden their reach to clients worldwide.” Accountants and their clients benefit greatly from shared access to real-time information in the cloud and these advances in online computing are bringing better solutions to tired business models, reshaping the profession rather than removing it.

    Accounting fraud has become an algorithm game

    Further changes to the industry are coming straight from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) with the new Accounting Quality Model (AQM). Cleverly dubbed RoboCop the AQM, in addition to statements made by the SEC Chairman, Mary Jo White, proved a renewed interest and intolerance for violations of financial reporting regulations. This crackdown is making it more important than ever for corporate filers to fully understand SEC strategies, particularly the AQM in order to reduce the likelihood of their firm being the subject of an erroneous SEC audit.

    “RoboCop” works by producing a score for each filing, assessing the chances of fraudulent activities and will analyse whether a company stands out in terms of accruals (non-cash entries that can be altered by management). Other questionable activities include off-balance sheet transactions, frequent auditor changes and delays in earning announcements. Mr Lewis (naturally enough RoboCop’s crime fighting partner, also named Lewis), a former finance professor and SEC’s Chief Economist stated “When firms are choosing accounting treatments that are unusual, that’s something we would like to highlight [for SEC examiners].”

    Furthermore the SEC has delivered a plan that requires U.S. companies to provide financial statements to the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) by 2015, consequently requiring accountants to develop a substantially greater understanding of the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and IFRS reporting standards. As these and other changes to legal and regulatory requirements take effect, there is a great need for accountants to assist with compliance measures. Even in Australia these overseas actions change the way we handle business as accountants, bookkeepers and clients themselves expand their customer base internationally.

    The future of accounting

    [Accounting Fraud Has Become an Algorithm Game]

    While many believe that the cloud and other advances in technology are costing bookkeepers and accountants their jobs, a huge part of the driving force in the adoption of online finance suites has been the vast support received by accountants. In particular, financial gurus representing small and micro businesses have taken it as an excellent opportunity to reshape and expand their service and value, offering clients a greater range of services, assisting businesses to become more competitive.

    While the adaptable race ahead, the ‘dinosaurs’ of the accounting world are being left behind with the introduction of cloud-based and mobile computing and the rejection of desktop software and back room servers. Modern firms are undergoing full practice conversions, taking on major cloud activity.

    While the shift towards cloud computing takes place so too does the shift towards untraditional means of employment with freelancers and contractors, significantly altering how businesses are run, creating new and unexplored opportunities for accountants. Due to technological changes and the need for a greater understanding of legal compliance and regulatory requirements, clients will drastically favour accounting specialists over generalists.

    This push towards specialisation will lead to collaboration among bookkeepers, accountants and firms worldwide. These professionals will possess new roles as advisors, consultants and compliance specialists, providing strategic advice to clients through the use of automated data capture and advanced analytical tools. In an article written by Xero UK’s Managing Director, Gary Turner, looking at the impact of current and future advances in online accounting for business owners and chartered accountants, Turner states “There’s no turning back the clock. Rather than charging by the hour, tomorrow’s accountants must become small business advisors who charge based on the value they deliver.” Read the full article here.

    The successful accountants of the future will be strong communicators, possess greater IT skills combined with strategic vision and they will be devoted to ongoing professional development. Globalisation is the future of accounting as more and more businesses require real-time manufacturing and information, mobile marketing and online tools, including the cloud, to expand their customer base internationally. Thus accounting and finance professionals with knowledge of international standards and regulations will thrive.

    As the former president of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), John Brockwell said, “The professionals who will add the greatest value are those whose minds are open, who can interpret, understand and communicate the meaning of numbers, who thrive on challenges, who relish the opportunities for lifelong learning and who embrace change.”

    It’s never too late or too early to change careers!

    “Welcome to accounting 2.0! Data is now connected from the source to the ledger via cloud-based applications. The days of the ‘shoebox’ and ‘real time advice’ being just a failed promise are now over.” Guy Pearson

  • Strengthen your writing by eliminating these 10 wordsRead More

    Good writing uses words sparingly, and if you’ve ever read a book or article that seemed poorly written but couldn’t work out what the problem was, there’s a good chance that it contained too much padding.

    What is padding? In short, it’s anything that increases your word count without adding value. In fiction writing this could include overly lengthy character descriptions or unrelated subplots. In non-fiction writing it might contain complex academic language or multiple examples when one would suffice.

    It also includes filler words that are either too vague and could be swapped for a more descriptive word, or those that are redundant and could be removed without changing the meaning of what you have written.

    Weeding out filler words or replacing weak words with stronger ones will greatly improve the quality of your writing. Here are 10 examples of words you should think twice about using. 

    Very

    Although very is added for emphasis, in writing it rarely has the intended effect, and may even weaken the impact of your statement.

    Consider the following sentences:

    ‘There was no denying that the man was very ugly.’

    ‘There was no denying that the man was ugly.’

    Which one sounds stronger?

    This advice also applies to words like “really”, “quite”, or “extremely”. If you can remove any of these words and still convey the same meaning, do so.

    Literally

    Literally has become a popular word in recent years, but it’s rarely used correctly and can nearly always be eliminated.

    For example, you shouldn’t say, ‘Her legs literally turned to jelly,’ because, they didn’t. But there would also be no need to say, ‘It literally made him smile,’ because although it did make him smile, you can convey the same message without using this word.

    Basically

    Unless you are using this word to simplify or sum something up, you should leave it out. At best, basically is a crutch word, like well or um, but at worst it can actually make your meaning less clear.

    For example, saying, ‘The man was basically dead by the time the paramedics arrived,’ or ‘She is basically exhausted,’ confuses the reader. Was the man dead when the paramedics arrived or wasn’t he? Was she exhausted or merely tired?

    Just

    Although this word can be used effectively, it often only takes up space and weakens your writing.

    An example of when it would be appropriate is if you are explaining that something happened only a short while ago. For instance, ‘I just got back from my holidays.’

    Most other uses, however, are unnecessary. For example, saying ‘I just wanted to follow up on...,’ sounds apologetic, whereas ‘I wanted to follow up on...,’ comes across as decisive.

    That

    That is one of the most common filler words, and removing it can greatly improve the readability of a sentence. For example, the sentence ‘The car that he bought was brand new,’ isn’t necessarily wrong, but the sentence ‘The car he bought was brand new,’ reads a lot easier and conveys the same meaning.

    Then

    Then can usually be removed from your writing, as long as it’s still clear that one action is following another. So instead of saying ‘He took a walk and then went for a swim in the river,’ you could simply say, ‘He took a walk and went for a swim in the river.’

    Great

    Although there’s nothing wrong with this word, it can usually be replaced with a more descriptive one. For instance, instead of saying ‘I had a great milkshake,’ you could give the reader more insight by saying something like, ‘I had a thick, creamy milkshake.’

    Amazing

    Because this word is so overused, it has lost some of its power. Before using it, ask yourself if there is a more descriptive way to say it, and whether what you are describing would actually “cause great wonder and surprise”.

    For example, ‘The amazing aroma of freshly baked bread,’ would probably read better as ‘The pleasant aroma of freshly baked bread.’

    Went

    While this isn’t a bad word per se, it doesn’t tell the reader as much as it could. Instead of writing ‘Jane went to the store,’ you could write ‘Jane drove to the store,’ or ‘Jane walked to the store,’ thus giving the reader a better picture of how she went to the store.

    Got

    As with “went” this word doesn’t give the reader enough information. If you say ‘Harriet got a new swimsuit,’ you’re not telling your readers how she obtained her swimsuit. Did she buy it? Was it given to her? By choosing a more descriptive word, you will make the statement stronger.

     

    Are you interested in learning more about the intricacies of the English language? The Australian College of Journalism offers courses in Creative writing for you to learn your craft. Call us to find out more today.

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