Accounting profession and careers

Find out how to become a professional accountant in New Zealand.


The School of Accounting and Commercial Law (SACL) maintains excellent relationships with the accounting and legal professions and business and government communities.

Employment prospects for graduates in Accounting are wide ranging. All organisations of moderate and larger size require the services of an accountant or chartered accountant. Further information can be found in the Accounting Career View.

To become a professional accountant you need to join a professional accounting body. SACL has accreditation arrangements with New Zealand and International accounting professional bodies, to provide courses that allow our students to meet their academic requirements.

The accounting professional bodies to which Victoria University of Wellington are currently accredited to are:

  • Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ) – previously the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants (NZICA)
  • CPA Australia
  • Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), UK
  • Association of Certified Chartered Accountants (ACCA)

Each professional body has different requirements that must be met before full membership of the body can be obtained. The requirements cover three areas:

  1. Academic or university study (both length of study and papers required to be taken)
  2. Professional study
  3. Professional experience.

To meet the academic requirements of these professional bodies, students should complete at least a 3-year BCom degree and include the following courses to meet the CA ANZ required competence area:

  • Business Law: COML 203 and COML 204
  • Accounting Systems and Process: ACCY 111, ACCY 115 and ACCY 225
  • Information Technology: ACCY 225
  • Financial Accounting and Reporting: ACCY 231 and ACCY 308
  • Management Accounting: ACCY 111, ACCY 223 and ACCY 302
  • Auditing and Assurance: ACCY 330
  • Taxation: TAXN 201 and TAXN 301
  • Economics: ECON 130 and ECON 141
  • Quantitative Methods: QUAN 102
  • Finance and Financial Management: FINA 201 or FINA 211
  • Ethics: Integrated into the BCOM Accounting major

The completion of these courses, the remaining BCom compulsory core papers and 360 points (including two additional COML 300-level courses) will give a student a BCom with an Accounting and Commercial Law major and meet the academic requirements of all the accounting professional bodies the University is accredited to.

The information below provides more details about what is required to become a professional accountant for each of these accounting professional bodies.

Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand


Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ) are made up of over 100,000 diverse, talented and financially astute professionals who utilise their skills every day to make a difference for business the world over. In 2013 members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia and the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants voted in favour of creating Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand and, on July 2014, the two professional bodies joined forces to form a new professional body in response to the unique challenges and opportunities of today's commercial environment. The CA qualification is highly regarded, and Chartered Accountants aspire to the highest professional and ethical standards. Chartered Accountants are multi-skilled professionals. Their work involves a range of business activities, including giving advice, strategic planning, negotiating deals, management and providing financial information to support business decisions, as well as preparing financial reports, auditing and providing tax advice. To become a member of the College of Chartered Accountants you will need to complete the academic requirements, followed by three years of practical experience and complete the professional competency programme. For more information on the practical experience, professional competence and academic requirements, please go to Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand’s student website.

Meeting the academic requirements

The academic requirements for the Chartered Accountants CA College have been reviewed several times since 2007. Students who began their accounting study before 2016 should contact Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand and request an assessment of their academic record (Assessment of Study). An overview of the academic entry pathways can be on the CA ANZ website. If you began your accounting study after 2016 (that is, 2017 onwards) you should complete under the 2012 CA College academic requirements detailed below. Note: Beginning studies is defined as having passed a degree level course in accounting (e.g. ACCY 111). The following sections outline the 2017 CA college requirements.

You apply for Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand at

2018 Chartered Accountants college academic requirements

Under the 2018 CAANZ Academic Policy, the academic requirements for the CA College are:

  1. Completion of a three-year, full-time equivalent degree-level study. This is 360 points at Victoria University of Wellington.
  2. Completion of a recognised Bachelor’s Degree
  3. Completion of the following papers
  • Accounting – ACCY 111 and ACCY 115
  • Economics - ECON 141
  • Quantitative methods- QUAN 102
  • Commercial and corporate law - COML 203 and COML 204
  • Information systems - ACCY 225
  • Financial accounting –ACCY 231 and ACCY 308
  • Management accounting - ACCY 223 and ACCY 302
  • Auditing - ACCY 330
  • Taxation - TAXN 201 and TAXN 301
  • Finance - FINA 211 or FINA 201*

In addition to the above courses, the following 6 core B.Com courses are required:
FCOM 111 ECON 130, INFO 101, MARK 101, MGMT 101 and QUAN 102

* QUAN 111 is only required if you are planning to do FINA 201.

CPA Australia


A CPA is a highly qualified finance, accounting and business professional. CPA Australia is one of the largest, most recognised and respected accounting bodies in the world and it is the capabilities of strategy, leadership, and global business that set CPA Australia apart in today’s dynamic business environment. As a CPA, your scope is unlimited - you can pursue career opportunities in any industry, organisation or role. CPAs are employed globally in all industries – from financial planning, international trade and consulting, through to industries as diverse as IT, sport, entertainment, music or health organisations – large or small, public or private, CPAs drive their own businesses or lead multi-nationals – from the top 100 to the Big 4 in the profession, and business leadership roles – from CEOs or CFOs to general managers and consultants.

With over 155,000 members working in 121 countries, the CPA designation is widely recognised and respected, from Asia Pacific to the UK and USA. The CPA designation is one of the world’s most portable qualifications and is a valuable tool for opening doors locally and internationally. Numerous professional accounting bodies throughout the world recognise the CPA Program and the CPA designation.

CPAs are recognised around the world for their strategic business skills. The CPA Program is a post-graduate accounting program that combines professional education with 3 years’ relevant practical experience, ensuring you gain both the technical and commercial skills required to stand out. Depending on your previous studies you can either commence the CPA Program right away or complete foundation units before starting the Program.

Join the CPA Student Network of over 200,000 students at cpaaustralia.

Meeting the CPA Australia academic requirements

To meet the accreditation requirements for CPA Australia at Victoria University of Wellington requires a three-year Bachelors degree including passes in the following courses.

  • For students who commenced study from 2018
    • ACCY 111 and ACCY 115
    • ACCY 223 and ACCY 302
    • ACCY 231 and ACCY 308
    • TAXN 201 and TAXN 301
    • ACCY 330
    • ACCY 225
    • COML 203 and COML 204
    • FINA 201* or FINA 211
    • ECON 130 and ECON 141
    • QUAN 102

* QUAN 111 is only required if you are planning to do FINA 201

To check you have met all core subject requirements within your CPA Australia accredited degree at Victoria University of Wellington.

Chartered Institute of Management Accountants


CIMA is the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants. The world’s largest professional body of management accountants, with the most useful accounting qualification for a career in business

The CIMA (UK) requires a Bachelor of Commerce (majoring in Accounting) degree.  The CIMA (UK) recently approved the qualification exemption for CIMA exams for our students until 2022.

The BCom (majoring in Accounting) programme is accredited for exemptions including;

  • BA1, BA2, BA3, BA4 (CIMA - Certificate in Business Accounting)
  • E1, P1, F1 (CIMA – Diploma in Management Accounting (CIMA Dip MA)
  • E2, P2, F2 (CIMA Advanced Diploma in Management Accounting (CIMA Adv Dip MA)

Students will start at the Management Case Study exam onwards.

Association of Certified Chartered Accountants


ACCA is the global body for professional accountants with nearly 500,000 members and students in 170 countries and 82 offices around the world. Its members are employed in industry, financial services, the public sector and in public practice.

Our accreditation for ACCA requires a BCom degree with a Major in Accounting; specified courses are required to be included in the course of study.

For further information about ACCA.

For students who graduate between 2013 and 2019, to obtain an exemption from the fundamental level courses (F1-F4) requires the completion of a BCom degree with a Major in accounting. Exemptions are also available for the other fundamental level courses (F5-F9). These are:

  • ACCY 223 and ACCY 302 (F5)
  • TAXN 201 and TAXN 301 (F6)
  • ACCY 115, ACCY 231 and ACCY 308 (F7)
  • ACCY 330 (F8)
  • FINA 211 or FINA 201 (F9)

How to find out more

For further information, please see the current SACL academic prospectus or contact the School.