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.
Apply for the Bachelor of Arts and Commerce (BACom) through the Dunedin campus in 2022Apply Now
Apply for the Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) through the Dunedin campus in 2022Apply Now
Apply for the Bachelor of Commerce and Science (BComSc) through the Dunedin campus in 2022Apply Now
Apply for the Bachelor of Commerce with Honours (BCom(Hons)) through the Dunedin campus in 2022Apply Now
Apply for the Diploma for Graduates (DipGrad) through the Dunedin campus in 2022Apply Now
Apply for the Master of Commerce (MCom)Apply Now
Apply for the Postgraduate Diploma in Commerce (PGDipCom) through the Dunedin campus in 2022Apply Now
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)
- Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CAANZ)
- Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)
- CPA (Australia)
Explore your study options further. Refer to enrolment information found on the following qualification pages.
- Bachelor of Commerce (BCom)
- Bachelor of Arts and Commerce (BACom)
- Bachelor of Commerce and Science (BComSc)
- Bachelor of Commerce with Honours (BCom(Hons))
- Diploma for Graduates (DipGrad)
- Postgraduate Diploma in Commerce (PGDipCom)
- Master of Commerce (MCom)
- Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) majoring in Accounting
BSNS 112 Interpreting Business Data
BSNS 114 Financial Decision Making
BSNS 115 Accounting and Information Systems
ACCT 102 Principles of Accounting
ACCT 211 Financial Accounting and Reporting
ACCT 222 Cost and Management Accounting
ACCT 233 Fundamentals of Accounting for Financial Decisions
126 further points; must include 54 points at 200-level or above. Up to 90 points may be taken from outside Commerce.
Every programme must include BSNS 111-115. At least three of these papers must be passed before enrolling in any 200-level Commerce paper, and all must be passed before enrolling in any 300-level Commerce paper. For single-degree BCom students, all five must be attempted in the first year of study or equivalent.
STAT 110 or STAT 115 will be accepted as an alternative to BSNS 112 as a required paper or as part of the major subject requirements or as a prerequisite when:
Bachelor of Commerce with Honours (BCom(Hons)) in Accounting
* Students who have previously completed ACFI 359 or an acceptable research methods papers from another university may substitute an additional paper from ACCT 401-499, BSNS 401 for ACFI 459.
Postgraduate Diploma in Commerce (PGDipCom) in Accounting
Additional 300-level papers may be required of students who have not majored in Accounting for a BCom degree.
Master of Accounting and Finance (MAccFin)
The 180 point programme of study shall consist of:
Master of Commerce (MCom) in Accounting
Minor subject requirements
Accounting as a minor subject for a BA, MusB, BPA, BTheol, BSc, BAppSc, BCom, BHealSc, BACom, 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 Applied Science (BAppSc), Bachelor of Commerce (BCom), 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 Accounting and Information Systems
BSNS 115 Understanding Accounting
|200 and 300-level||Three ACCT or ACFI papers above 100-level, including at least one 300-level ACCT paper|| |
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, a selection of on-campus papers will be made available via distance and online learning for eligible students.
Find out which papers are available and how to apply on our COVID-19 website
|Paper code||Year||Title||Points||Teaching period|
|ACCT102||2022||Principles of Accounting||18 points||Semester 1, Semester 2|
|ACCT211||2022||Financial Accounting and Reporting||18 points||Semester 1|
|ACCT222||2022||Cost and Management Accounting||18 points||Semester 1, Semester 2|
|ACCT233||2022||Fundamentals of Accounting for Financial Decisions||18 points||Semester 1|
|ACCT260||2022||Introduction to Accounting Analytics||18 points||Semester 2|
|ACCT302||2022||Accounting Performance Management||18 points||Semester 1|
|ACCT306||2022||Accounting Information Systems and Analytics||18 points||Semester 2|
|ACCT307||2022||Management Accounting||18 points||Semester 2|
|ACCT310||2022||Financial Statement Analysis||18 points||Semester 2|
|ACCT315||2022||Advanced Financial Accounting||18 points||Semester 1|
|ACCT325||2022||Corporate Sustainability Accounting and Reporting||18 points||Semester 2|
|ACCT360||2022||Advanced Accounting Analytics||18 points||Semester 1|
|ACCT399||2022||Special Topic||18 points||Not offered in 2022|
|ACCT403||2022||Advanced Financial Accounting||20 points||Semester 1|
|ACCT404||2022||Empirical and Methodological Aspects of Financial Accounting||20 points||Not offered in 2022|
|ACCT410||2022||Advanced Performance Management Accounting||20 points||Not offered in 2022|
|ACCT411||2022||Literature Review||20 points||Semester 2|
|ACCT414||2022||Sustainability Accounting and Reporting||20 points||Semester 2|
|ACCT429||2022||Commercial Law||20 points||Semester 1|
|ACCT480||2022||Dissertation or Case Study||40 points||Full Year|
|ACCT499||2022||Special Topic||20 points||Not offered in 2022|
|ACCT501||2022||Applied Project||40 points||1st Non standard period, 2nd Non standard period|
|ACFI359||2022||Research Methods||18 points||Not offered in 2022|
|ACFI459||2022||Advanced Research Methods||20 points||Semester 1|
|ACFI501||2022||Applied Project||40 points||1st Non standard period, 2nd Non standard period|
|ACFI580||2022||Applied Project||40 points||1st Non standard period, 2nd Non standard period|
|ACTP311||2022||Auditing Practice||18 points||Semester 1|
|ACTP312||2022||Taxation Practice||18 points||Semester 2|
|ACTP411||2022||Auditing Practice||20 points||Semester 1|
Dr Helen Tregidga Accountancy & Finance