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    • 2014
George Ott

Student Profile

‘The papers are challenging but the lecturers make them interesting...’

George Ott BCom in Finance and Accounting
Auditor, KPMG Audit
(read profile)





Accounting covers a wide range of accounting practices in an equally wide range of contexts, thus providing a solid foundation for a successful career in Christchurch, Canterbury, Aotearoa, the Pacific, Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas, or all of these.

Conventionally, the subject is divided into financial accounting and reporting, cost and management accounting, auditing and control, taxation and the like. So you will get to reflect on:

  • accounting as the collection, recording, summary, analysis and communication of financial information, the primary concern of which is to provide information for people and groups who are external to an organisation
  • 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 services, budgeting, and estimating the cost structure of competitors
  • auditing as verifying the truth and fairness of financial information; and taxation as laws, rules and the like that regulate and create certainty in relations between taxpayers and the taxation authorities.

At UC you will also be studying alternative, more radical accounting, both in conventional and less conventional contexts. So you will also get to know about and reflect on:

  • accounting as calculative practices in many spheres: public and private; social, economic, political and cultural; green and brown (environmentally speaking); colonial and post-colonial; and national, international and transnational
  • the nature of accountant work, compared to the work of other management and professional specialists, such as marketers, engineers, human resource managers, clinicians, entrepreneurs, politicians and public officials; and in such contexts as the Global North and Global South, Māori as tāngata whenua and the Crown, and generations of the past, present and future (sustainability speaking).

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

Recommended background

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

With the growing importance and use in accountancy of mathematical methods and statistical tools, a background in mathematics and statistics is recommended. However, bear in mind that it is not all numbers, 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.

100-level courses

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

  • ACCT 102 Accounting and Financial Information
  • ACCT 103 Introduction to Financial Accounting
  • ECON 104 Introduction to Microeconomics or ECON 105 Introduction to Macroeconomics or ECON 199 (a STAR course for secondary school students)
  • INFO 123 Information Systems and Technology
  • MGMT 100 Fundamentals of Management
  • STAT 101 Statistics 1
  • Plus 30 points from 100-level Commerce or any other UC courses. ACCT 152 Law and Business is recommended.

For NZICA and/or CPA Australia membership, both ECON 104 and ECON 105 are required, as are ACCT 152, INFO 123 and ACCT 103 at the 100-level.

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

200-level and beyond

Courses at 200 and 300-level build on knowledge and skills introduced at 100-level. You are able to study business sector management accounting; accounting, sustainability and corporate social responsibility; accounting and finance in governments and public services; international corporate financial reporting; and accounting firm practices, such as audit, tax and business consulting.

Further study

When you complete your BCom and provided you have good grades in 300-level Accounting courses, you are eligible to enrol in the Bachelor of Commerce with Honours. An honours degree will help you distinguish yourself in the marketplace. If you have further academic ambitions it is also the next step to a Master of Commerce and/or a Doctor of Philosophy.

Career opportunities

As a specialist in accounting you will be able to enter a variety of fields. The most common positions are as an accountant, an accounting manager, an auditor, a consultant, a credit analyst and eventually, a 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 students aspire 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 BCom degree must include specific courses. For further details contact the Department of Accounting and Information Systems.

For further career information, please go to


The student advisors in the School of Business and Economics can assist you in a variety of ways from planning your degree to helping with special applications regarding your course of study.

Department of Accounting and Information Systems
Telephone: +64 3 364 2613