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Master of Professional Accounting

Master of Professional Accounting (MProfAcct)The Master of Professional Accounting (MProfAcct) is a professionally accredited accounting programme aimed at graduates of any discipline who want to pursue a career in accounting.

The Otago Business School's MProfAcct provides an opportunity for graduates with little or no experience or qualifications in accounting to pursue professional accreditation through an intensive course of study and applied research over a period of 18 months.

Key Information about the MProfAcct:

  • 18 month duration (Three semesters starting in Semester 1 + the last summer break)
  • 10 taught papers + applied project
  • Applicants normally require a B+ average (at 300 level) from their undergraduate degree
  • A background qualification, or knowledge of accounting practices is not required.
  • Applicants with relevant practical experience may also be considered


Master of Professional Accounting (MProfAcct)

In recent years, the nature of accounting in the global business workplace has moved from being principally the preparation of financial reports to now include the role of business advisor and consultant. Most students seeking graduate placements in the field of accounting will have completed a standard three-year undergraduate degree in this subject.

Otago’s MProfAcct provides an opportunity for graduates with little or no experience or qualifications in accounting to pursue professional accreditation through an intensive course of study and applied research over a period of 18 months. On completion of the degree students can gain professional accreditation and membership to industry associations such as CAANZ and CPA Australia.

MProfAcct students will be required to gain mastery of the subject matter and skills at an accelerated rate that is considered appropriate, challenging and manageable for a graduate.

Why Otago?

Choosing the right university is a very important decision. Your choice of university may have a significant impact in your life. The University of Otago is New Zealand’s first university, and prides itself on its long tradition of excellence. The University of Otago graduates are highly regarded by employers.

Otago offers a rich cultural life, reflecting a diverse international student community and New Zealand’s own multicultural population. Otago has a network of over 95,000 graduates living in more than 142 countries. We provide strong administrative support for you during your study, and career planning assistance on completion of your degrees.

The Otago Business School has an international reputation for excellence and teaching, and is acknowledged as a centre of excellence in business and economics. The University of Otago’s international reputation, the Otago Business School’s close links with the business community and the strength of an Otago degree mean career opportunities for our graduates are endless. With a business qualification from Otago you will be ready, not just for work, but for the world!

Key Features

  • Designed by both academics and practitoners
  • Accredited by professional accounting bodies, CPA Australia and Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CAANZ)
  • Special focus on developing strong technical and professional accounting skills, including communication and analytical skills
  • Open to graduates of any discipline
  • Small class sizes
  • One to one interaction with faculty members
  • Job ready programme for international students (pdf)

Entry Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree in any discipline with minimum of a B+ grade average
  • Applicants for whom English is not their first language must have an IELTS (Academic) score of 6.5 with no band less than 6
  • A candidate may be exempted from some of the required papers on the basis of previous study, subject to the approval of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Commerce). Alternative papers will be required to be at an equivalent level of study, and to a maximum of 20 points
  • The MProfAcct commences in Semester 1 each year - Enrollments are due by 10 December but late enrollments may be considered.  

Career Opportunities

The MProfAcct prepares you for launching a career as an accountant either in public accounting practices or private and public sector organisations. Highly skilled accountants and business managers having accountancy and finance backgrounds are high in demand both in New Zealand and internationally. The MProfAcct qualification opens doors to a range of career opportunities, such as:

  • Chartered Accountant (CA)
  • Certified Practising Accountant (CPA)
  • Auditor
  • Business consultant
  • Tax consultant
  • Systems accountant
  • Management accountant
  • Chief Finance Officer
  • Forensic accountant

Degree Structure

The programme of study shall consist of 10 x 20 point taught papers together with a 40 point applied project. Papers are either taught in semester one, semester two or are full-year papers.

To be awarded the MProfAcct you must complete and pass the following papers:

Paper Code Paper Title Points Description
ACCT 409 Management Accounting 20 An applied approach to the development of management accounting data
ACCT 421 Financial Accounting 20 The mechanics of financial accounting, the accounting environment and professional standards. Basic accounting concepts, principles, and reporting with applications to actual business settings.
ACCT 422 Management Accounting 20 Understanding, production and use of management accounting information, including cost behaviour, budgeting, variances and performance evaluation, relevant costs for decision making, pricing, product costing, treatment of overhead and allocations.
ACCT 423 Finance 20 An introduction to finance by examining the theory and application of why and how financial decisions are made.
BSNS 401 The Environment of Business & Economics 20 Provides exposure to multi-cultural and international influences on business and global economics, including communications, governance, accountability and ethics. Designed to develop skills for graduates working in all international environments.
BSNS 580 Applied Project 40 Investigation of a problem at a critical and analytical level, backed by appropriate literature from applied and academic literature.
ACTP 411 Auditing Practice 20 The nature and purpose of auditing, and the regulatory and professional environment in which it operates.
ACTP 412 Taxation Practice 20 Elements of taxation, direct and indirect taxation for individuals and other entities in New Zealand.
ACCT 403 Financial Accounting 20 An applied approach to the issues underlying financial accounting and reporting.
ACCT 406 Accounting Information Systems 20 An advanced study of the implication of AIS design, operation and control for accountants, auditors and managers, using in-depth case studies to develop practical familiarity with the issues arising.
ACCT 429 Commercial Law 20 An introduction to New Zealand’s legal framework and the law relating to commercial transactions, different forms of business and the legal requirements relating to these organisations.

Graduate Attributes

As a graduate of the MProfAcct you should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate thorough knowledge of current concepts, frameworks and techniques in financial and management accounting, including the areas required for professional practitioners,
  2. Apply accounting concepts, techniques and analytical skills at an advanced level,
  3. Synthesise information from academic and professional literature and use information effectively for independent research, applied problem-solving and management decision-making,
  4. Integrate prior learning and knowledge of business functions when analysing issues and engaging in research,
  5. Critically reflect on financial reporting and accounting practice from an ethical and a global perspective, and respect ethical standards,
  6. Communicate confidently and accurately to a high professional standard and employ technology effectively for communicating accounting information,
  7. Respect diversity and consider accounting issues, practices and methodologies from a variety of cultural perspectives; and, where appropriate, consider how these relate to Māori development aspirations.


For further information about the MProfAcct please contact the programme coordinator:
Dr Scott Chaput
Tel 64 3 479 8104
Office CO 3.18
Department of Accountancy and Finance