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New prize for University of Otago's sharpest accounting minds

Monday 1 March 2021 3:01pm

ANews0320 Christopher Walsh Professor Robin Gauld 650px
Christopher Walsh and Professor Robin Gauld at the signing of the deed of gift.

A passion for the skills learnt in an Otago Accounting qualification led Christopher Walsh to set up a new scholarship in his company’s name.

Launched at the end of last year, the MoneyHub.co.nz Accounting prize provides a $2,000 award for the top final-year Accounting student at Otago.

“I think the Otago Accounting major is a great degree because you get a CA (Chartered Accountant) qualification out of it, and that can’t be underrated because it’s a professional qualification.”


- Christopher Walsh

“I think the Otago Accounting major is a great degree because you get a CA (Chartered Accountant) qualification out of it, and that can’t be underrated because it’s a professional qualification.

“This is just a start, but if someone can leave university with $2,000, this will help them get off to a good start. It’s purely based on results, it’s not subjective,” Christopher says.

After graduating with a BCom/LLB from Otago in 2007, Christopher spent three years working for the accounting firm Ernst & Young, now simply known as EY.

He moved to London and was there during the Global Financial Crisis of 2008.

“I got to value a wide range of unfinished developments, from an unfinished tunnel to a partially completed building site, to a block of land with a bunch of concrete pillars on it.”

Then he worked for American investment firm Merrill Lynch for two years. This was followed by working for a web development company in 2014 and in 2018 he launched MoneyHub.

In terms of advice for an undergraduate starting out at university, he says he would recommend doing something with a clear career path.

“If you’re 17 or 18, look for something that can benefit you in the long-term, and for me you just can’t go past accounting.”


- Christopher Walsh

“If you’re 17 or 18, look for something that can benefit you in the long-term, and for me you just can’t go past accounting.

“You can go and work for a firm as an accountant and see how they work, see how they make their money and you can’t get that with anything else.”

He says the CA gives someone a “degree of trust” that they might not get with any other qualification.

Despite this he says many of his Otago classmates have gone on to grow businesses outside accounting.

Christopher says he often comes across his former Otago classmates and has formed bonds that will last forever.

Associate Professor Accountancy and Finance Helen Roberts says she would like to thank MoneyHub for the generous prize.

“Your support for our students is appreciated and the Department of Accountancy and Finance acknowledges the investment you are making in the next generation of Otago accountancy students. This is an investment that will keep on giving for generations to come.”

Otago Business School Dean and Pro-Vice Chancellor Professor Robin Gauld says it was a pleasure to sign the deed of gift for the new prize in Auckland late last year.

“It’s great to see one of our former students giving back so generously to his university,” Professor Gauld says.

Development and Alumni Relations Director Shelagh Murray says she is very grateful for MoneyHub’s commitment to Otago’s accounting students and the University. “Their generosity is what enables us to support the best and brightest at Otago,” Ms Murray says.