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Study Accounting at Otago

Everyone uses accounting in their everyday lives – whether they know it or not.

Online banking, StudyLink, KiwiSaver – all involve accounting concepts.

Accounting is the art and science of measuring, interpreting and communicating financial information.

At Otago, we have a range of interesting and challenging study options in accountancy – and as accountancy is a professional course, you’ll have the opportunity to join one of New Zealand’s professional accountancy bodies.

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Why study Accountancy?

Accounting is the financial language of business and non-profit organisations. As such, it is probably the most useful tool you can have when entering the business or non-profit world. If you understand the concepts and terminology of accounting, you will have a good grasp of business problems and their solutions.

Accounting is about providing financial information to help organisations plan and meet their various financial, tax or audit obligations. Creating user-friendly, flexible reports requires a team focus and the ability to incorporate other types of information.

Accountants can really make a difference in an organisation. Otago accounting graduates usually gain decision-making roles after a short time in the workplace. Far from being bean counters, they have a dynamic, challenging role. No matter what career you're aspiring to, you will find accounting skills invaluable.

Career opportunities

For an Otago accounting graduate, the world really is your playground. Many graduates start their careers in chartered accountancy firms, often working in taxation or auditing or as advisers to a range of businesses. For many, this is a stepping stone; within three or four years they move on to larger organisations such as government departments, businesses and non-profit organisations and within 10 years, their skills may have earned them a management rather than an accounting role.

New Zealand's leading accounting firms express a strong preference for Otago-trained graduates, so look out for our recruitment fairs held in early March each year.

Many employers prefer Otago accounting graduates. They particularly like students that engage in the variety of social, extra-curricular and academic opportunities that Otago offers.

Accountancy at Otago

Accountancy is a major of the Bachelor of Commerce (BCom), a three-year degree programme.

Accounting falls into two main areas:

  • Financial accounting, which is largely about producing financial information about organisations for people outside those organisations.
  • Management accounting, which is about record-keeping, planning, monitoring and decision-making within organisations.

In your first year, you will learn the basic concepts, principles and techniques of accounting. You'll learn how to produce financial statements used by most organisations and how accounting systems meet the information requirements of organisations – plans, forecasts, results. We also provide opportunities to develop critical thinking, financial analytic and communication skills, as these are attributes that are highly valued by employers and graduates.

Beyond first year, you'll develop these basic skills and learn more about the role of accounting in different contexts. Increasingly, accountants help measure and analyse data and provide advice on sustainable business practices, with social, environmental and governance reports now common additions to traditional accounting reports.

Teaching style

The first year is lecture- and tutorial-based. In subsequent years, most teaching takes place in seminar groups. You'll also carry out case studies, practical work on computers – particularly using Excel and financial databases – and group sessions where you and your colleagues organise your own projects and develop your communication skills.

Double major/degree options

Many students do a double major or double degree, such as a BCom in accounting and a Bachelor of Laws. Majors in information systems or finance are other good combinations. Other students choose to study accounting papers to enhance their other degrees, such as arts, physical education and science. No matter what degree you're studying, accounting is invaluable.

Professional options

To enhance and add value to your Otago BCom in accounting, we recommend you become a member of one or more of the professional accounting associations. If you wish to work in New Zealand as a public practitioner or auditor, the Chartered Accountants of Australia and New Zealand (CAANZ), or Certified Practising Accountants (CPA Australia) are the pathways to take.

Otago's Department of Accountancy and Finance has connections with several professional associations to suit different career aspirations:

Background required

There are no required subjects to study accountancy – you don't even have to have studied it at school. The subject continues to evolve as technology advances to allow new financial insights to be explored. Subjects that collate, record and analyse data, and subjects using English communication, would be helpful.


“Helen Tregidga says she loved doing her PhD at the time. And looking back, she loved it even more.”

Dr Helen Tregidga

Accountancy & Finance


Accounting as a minor subject for a BA, MusB, BPA, BTheol, BSc, BCom, BHealSc, BACom, BEntr, BASc or BComSc degree

Available as a minor subject for a Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Music (MusB), Bachelor of Performing Arts (BPA), Bachelor of Theology (BTheol), Bachelor of Science (BSc), Bachelor of Commerce (BCom), Bachelor of Entrepreneurship (BEntr), Bachelor of Health Science (BHealSc), Bachelor of Arts and Commerce (BACom), Bachelor of Arts and Science (BASc) or Bachelor of Commerce and Science (BComSc) degree


ACCT 102 Principles of Accounting

BSNS 115 Accounting and Information Systems



200 and 300-levelThree ACCT or ACFI papers above 100-level, including at least one 300-level ACCT paper



ACCT papers

Paper Code Year Title Points Teaching period
ACCT102 2024 Principles of Accounting 18 Semester 1, Semester 2
ACCT211 2024 Financial Accounting and Reporting 18 Semester 1
ACCT222 2024 Cost and Management Accounting 18 Semester 2
ACCT233 2024 Fundamentals of Accounting for Financial Decisions 18 Semester 1
ACCT260 2024 Introduction to Accounting Analytics 18 Semester 2
ACCT302 2024 Accounting Performance Management 18 Semester 2
ACCT306 2024 Accounting Information Systems and Analytics 18 Not offered in 2024
ACCT307 2024 Management Accounting 18 Semester 1
ACCT310 2024 Financial Statement Analysis 18 Semester 2
ACCT315 2024 Advanced Financial Accounting 18 Semester 1
ACCT325 2024 Corporate Sustainability Accounting and Reporting 18 Not offered in 2024
ACCT360 2024 Advanced Accounting Analytics 18 Semester 2
ACCT399 2024 Special Topic 18 Not offered in 2024
ACCT404 2024 Empirical and Methodological Aspects of Financial Accounting 20 Semester 2
ACCT410 2024 Advanced Performance Management Accounting 20 Not offered in 2024
ACCT411 2024 Literature Review 20 Not offered in 2024
ACCT414 2024 Sustainability Accounting and Reporting 20 Not offered in 2024
ACCT480 2024 Dissertation or Case Study 40 Not offered in 2024
ACCT499 2024 Special Topic 20 Not offered in 2024
ACFI359 2024 Research Methods 18 Not offered in 2024
ACFI459 2024 Advanced Research Methods 20 Semester 2
ACFI501 2024 Applied Project 40 1st Non standard period, 2nd Non standard period
ACFI580 2024 Research Project 40 1st Non standard period, 2nd Non standard period
ACTP311 2024 Auditing Practice 18 Semester 1
ACTP312 2024 Taxation Practice 18 Semester 2

More information

Contact us

Department of Accountancy and Finance
Otago Business School

Studying at Otago

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Regulations on this page are taken from the 2024 Calendar and supplementary material.

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