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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.

Apply for the Bachelor of Arts and Commerce (BACom) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

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Apply for the Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

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Apply for the Bachelor of Commerce and Science (BComSc) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

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Apply for the Bachelor of Commerce with Honours (BCom(Hons)) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

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Apply for the Diploma for Graduates (DipGrad) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

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Apply for the Master of Professional Accounting (MProfAcct) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

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Apply for the Postgraduate Diploma in Commerce (PGDipCom) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

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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.

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.

Careers 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:

Qualifications

Explore your study options further. Refer to enrolment information found on the following qualification pages.

Programme requirements

Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) majoring in Accounting

Level Papers Points
100-level

BSNS 112  Interpreting Business Data

BSNS 114  Financial Decision Making

BSNS 115  Accounting and Information Systems

ACCT 102  Principles of Accounting

Grades of at least C+ are needed in order to proceed to 200-level ACCT papers.

BSNS 111 Business and Society, BSNS 113 Economic Principles and Policy – must normally be taken in first year of study

18

18

18

18

 

36

200-level

ACCT 211  Financial Accounting and Reporting

ACCT 222  Cost and Management Accounting

ACCT 233  Fundamentals of Accounting for Financial Decisions

18

18

18

300-level

ACCT 302 Accounting Performance Management or ACCT 307 Management Accounting

ACCT 310 Statement Analysis or ACCT 315 Advanced Financial Accounting

Two further 300-level papers (one must be an ACCT paper, and the other must be an ACCT, ACFI or FINC paper)

18

18

36

Plus

126 further points; must include 54 points at 200-level or above. Up to 90 points may be taken from outside Commerce.

126
 

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:
(a) the paper has been passed before the student has enrolled for a BCom degree; or
(b) a student is enrolling for both a BCom and another degree for which STAT 110 or STAT 115 is required.

 
Total 360

Bachelor of Commerce with Honours (BCom(Hons)) in Accounting

Papers

* 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

Papers

Prerequisites:

Additional 300-level papers may be required of students who have not majored in Accounting for a BCom degree.

Master of Commerce (MCom) in Accounting

Thesis
  • Thesis: ACCT 5

Master of Professional Accounting (MProfAcct)

Papers Points

ACCT 403  Advanced Financial Accounting

ACCT 406  Accounting Information Systems

ACCT 409  Advanced Management Accounting

ACCT 421  Financial Accounting

ACCT 422  Management Accounting

ACCT 423  Finance

ACCT 429  Commercial Law

ACTP 411  Auditing Practice

ACTP 412  Taxation Practice

BSNS 401  The Environment of Business and Economics

ACCT 501  Applied Project

20

20

20

20

20

20

20

20

20

20

40

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

Level Papers Points
100-level

ACCT 102 Accounting and Information Systems

BSNS 115 Understanding Accounting

18

18

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

54

Total   90

Papers

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 2021 Principles of Accounting 18 points First Semester, Second Semester
ACCT211 2021 Financial Accounting and Reporting 18 points First Semester
ACCT222 2021 Cost and Management Accounting 18 points First Semester, Second Semester
ACCT233 2021 Fundamentals of Accounting for Financial Decisions 18 points First Semester
ACCT302 2021 Accounting Performance Management 18 points First Semester
ACCT306 2021 Accounting Information Systems 18 points Second Semester
ACCT307 2021 Management Accounting 18 points Second Semester
ACCT310 2021 Financial Statement Analysis 18 points Second Semester
ACCT315 2021 Advanced Financial Accounting 18 points First Semester
ACCT325 2021 Corporate Sustainability Accounting and Reporting 18 points Second Semester
ACCT399 2021 Special Topic 18 points Not offered in 2021
ACCT403 2021 Advanced Financial Accounting 20 points First Semester
ACCT404 2021 Empirical and Methodological Aspects of Financial Accounting 20 points Not offered in 2021
ACCT406 2021 Accounting Information Systems 20 points Second Semester
ACCT409 2021 Advanced Management Accounting 20 points Second Semester
ACCT410 2021 Advanced Performance Management Accounting 20 points Not offered in 2021
ACCT411 2021 Literature Review 20 points First Semester
ACCT414 2021 Sustainability Accounting and Reporting 20 points Not offered in 2021
ACCT421 2021 Financial Accounting 20 points First Semester
ACCT422 2021 Management Accounting 20 points First Semester
ACCT423 2021 Finance 20 points First Semester
ACCT429 2021 Commercial Law 20 points First Semester
ACCT480 2021 Dissertation or Case Study 40 points Full Year
ACCT499 2021 Special Topic 20 points Not offered in 2021
ACCT501 2021 Applied Project 40 points 1st Non standard period, 2nd Non standard period
ACFI359 2021 Research Methods 18 points Not offered in 2021
ACFI459 2021 Advanced Research Methods 20 points First Semester
ACTP311 2021 Auditing Practice 18 points First Semester
ACTP312 2021 Taxation Practice 18 points Second Semester
ACTP411 2021 Auditing Practice 20 points First Semester
ACTP412 2021 Taxation Practice 20 points Second Semester

Key information for future students

Contact us

Department of Accountancy and Finance
Otago Business School
Email accountancyfinance@otago.ac.nz
Web otago.ac.nz/accountancyfinance