Bachelor of Commerce
Bachelor of Commerce with Honours
Master of Commerce
Doctor of Philosophy


The study of Accounting covers a wide range of accounting practices and theories in an equally wide range of contexts, thus providing a solid foundation for a successful professional career.

The subject is divided into:

  • Financial accounting and reporting
  • Cost and management accounting
  • Auditing and assurance
  • Taxation
  • Other relevant areas

By studying Accounting, you will gain high-level knowledge and an understanding of:

  • Accounting as the collection, analysis and communication of decision-useful financial information for key external groups eg, owners, investors, regulators and others
  • Accounting as providing information for managers within an organisation to aid them with various strategic and tactical decisions, such as determining the cost of providing products and service, budgeting and evaluating projects
  • Auditing as verifying the accuracy and reliability of financial information and the assessment of risk
  • Taxation as laws and rules that regulate and create certainty in relations between taxpayers and the taxation authorities

Why study Accounting at UC?

The Bachelor of Commerce Accounting major is a pathway to external qualifications with the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants (NZICA), CPA Australia (Certified Practicing Accountants), the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), and other professional accounting bodies internationally.

At UC you will study alternative perspectives on contemporary accounting, both in conventional and less common contexts.

Students will also learn about the modern, reflective role accountants can play in many spheres such as public and private; social, environmental, economic, political and cultural; colonial and post-colonial; and national, international and transnational.

UC experts will help you answer the question of how does the nature of the accountant’s work differ from other management and professional specialists, such as marketers, economists, engineers, human resource managers, entrepreneurs, politicians and public officials? You will consider important topical issues, such as business ethics, the Global North and Global South, Māori as tāngata whenua and the Crown, corporate social responsibility, and the challenges presented by increasing globalisation.

Recommended preparation

While some previous study of accounting is useful preparation, it is not essential to have studied accounting at secondary school level.

A background in statistics is recommended. However, accounting is not all number-oriented, and a good grounding in spoken and written English communication is essential.

Students with very good Year 13 results in accounting may be offered direct entry to 200-level Accounting courses at the discretion of the Head of Department.


See a list of all Accounting courses

The first-year, 100-level courses required to complete a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Accounting are:

For NZICA and/or CPA Australia membership, both ECON104 and ECON105 are required, as are ACCT152, INFO123 and ACCT103 at the 100-level.

For the complete, three-year Bachelor of Commerce Accounting major degree plan, see the School of Business and Economics.

Career opportunities

As a specialist in accounting you will be able to enter a variety of fields. The most common positions are

  • Accountant
  • Accounting manager
  • Auditor
  • Consultant
  • Credit analyst
  • Manager or Executive

You can focus on a range of areas such as tax, financial management, investment analysis, business services, company or treasury systems accountancy, government finance or third sector development work; and get work around the world.

Many Accounting major graduates go on to become chartered accountants, mainly through the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants (NZICA) or Certified Practising Accountants (CPA) Australia.

For both NZICA and CPA Australia membership your Bachelor of Commerce degree must include specific courses.

Find out more about what you can do with a degree in Accounting.

More information

Department of Accounting and Information Systems
Phone +64 3 364 2613

Business and Law building, Level 2

Postal address
Department of Accounting and Information Systems
College of Business and Law
University of Canterbury
Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha
Private Bag 4800
Christchurch 8140
New Zealand