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:
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.