What can I do with a degree in Accounting?

Accounting students on an internship at EY.
© Restricted/University of Canterbury

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.

Major areas of study are financial accounting and reporting, cost and management accounting, auditing and control, and taxation.

Through their Accounting degree, graduates develop a valuable set of transferable skills that includes:

  • Presentation skills
  • Oral and written communication skills
  • Planning and coordination
  • Interpretive, analytical, logical thinking
  • Professional judgement and problem solving
  • High-level technical accounting skills
  • Computer skills
  • Cultural awareness and ethical behaviour
  • Numerical confidence and quantitative
  • thinking.

Opportunities to apply your learning beyond campus are available through work-integrated learning (eg, internships) and international study tours. These experiences deepen your skillset,
working knowledge, and employability.

Accounting is synonymous with being a professional accountant; a major role associated with all sorts of organisations from airlines to movie studios, farms to zoos – there are even accounting jobs at Scott Base in Antarctica!

Recent UC graduates have been employed in:

Chartered accountancy firms and management consultants

  • eg, KPMG, PwC, Deloitte, EY, Grant Thornton, Crichton Horne & Associates, Brophy Knight Ltd, Paul Duggan & Associates, BDO, Staples Rodway, Marriotts, Ashton Wheelans, Crowe Horwath

Parliamentary auditors

  • eg, Audit New Zealand

Government bodies

  • eg, Ministry of Health, Statistics NZ, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, Inland Revenue Department, Christchurch City Council, Environment Canterbury, RNZAF, Canterbury District Health Board

Banking and financial services

  • eg, ANZ, BNZ, Standard Chartered Bank, Westpac, Lloyds Banking Group, Imperium Capital Group

Investment firms

  • eg, Goldman Sachs, Global Wealth and Investment Management, J.P. Morgan, Aviva Investors, Global Infrastructure Partners

Business enterprise

  • In power, construction, IT, retail, oil and gas, music, manufacturing, insurance, tourism and more.
  • As an Accounting graduate you will be able to work globally, be it in Adelaide, Frankfurt, Montreal, Rio, Tokyo or Zhengzhou.

Graduates with this degree usually go on to train and qualify as chartered or certified accountants. This puts them in line for a wide range of career opportunities. See some examples below. Note: Some of the jobs listed may require further study. See ‘Professional bodies’ and ‘Further study’ sections on this page.

Accountant, assistant accountant, associate accountant, graduate trainee accountant

  • Manages the flow of money through an organisation
  • Reviews and analyses the performance of businesses, governments and other entities
  • Provides financial advice to managers, entrepreneurs, business clients and governmental bodies

Financial accountant and controller

  • Publishes financial reports and statements
  • Advises investors and interested parties

Tax accountant / consultant

  • Provides advice about tax obligations
  • Calculates tax liabilities and allowances
  • Ensures tax laws are abided by

Management accountant / consultant

  • Evaluates the performance of businesses and identifies ways to improve
  • Helps develop strategies, budgets and policies

Investment accountant

  • Analyses market trends
  • Advises on shares, lending, mergers, takeovers

Analyst, business / financial analyst, consultant

  • Generates, analyses, reports and applies financial and other information to organisations, projects, contracts etc.
  • Models and analyses economic/business trends to inform decisions and protect interests

Auditor, assistant / associate / graduate auditor

  • Examines financial statements
  • Provides evidence as to the accuracy of these
  • Checks the legality of funding use
  • Can do forensic accounting: investigates activity that may be illegal or does not comply to policy

Internal auditor

  • Carries out audits of systems
  • Advises management of the strength and reliability of internal controls
  • Reports to the board of directors

Account manager

  • Researches clients and markets to promote the client/brand to potential audiences
  • Builds strong relationships and networks
  • Develops client proposals, manages budgets, implements activities and prepares reports

Commercial manager

  • Oversees financial, strategic and operational accounting in an organisation
  • Examines revenue, costs and profitability to identify issues and opportunities
  • Assesses financial details to inform decisions


  • Develops an idea to form their own business
  • Gets involved in a start-up
  • Offers their services as a consultant

Get started with Entrepreneurship here

Pathway to chartered or certified accountancy

Most Accounting major students aspire to become chartered or certified accountants. The Bachelor of Commerce Accounting major is a pathway to external qualifications.** In Australia and New Zealand, these qualifications are associated with joining one of the following:

There are equivalent bodies in most other countries. These organisations can provide regular communications and offer the chance to network with others in the same community. Social media networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter can keep you up-to-date with networking opportunities, events and job vacancies.

Learn from our students' experiences

For more information

see the Accounting subject page