Rapid developments in the global business environment and technology are changing the roles of accountants. Rather than just recording financial transactions, accountants are increasingly likely to find themselves analysing data, serving in advisory roles and acting as multi-skilled business managers. Today, accountants are commonly referred to as advisers, analysts and consultants.
As commerce becomes more complex, the legal, ethical and social components of doing business are also increasing. Stakeholders now require nonfinancial information about an organisation’s human, intellectual, social and natural capital in addition to the traditional financial information. These stakeholders include not only the managers and investors, but also creditors, consumers, employees, politicians, regulators and the public.
At the same time, technology is changing how accountants gather, analyse and report data. The emergence of big data and robotic process automation mean that accountants must have the appropriate technological skills to function in a rapidly changing business environment.
Current trends in accounting
- Development of robust and effective processes to manage cyber-crime and boost cyber-security in organisations
- Intelligent technology such as automation, bots and machine learning are enabling rapid evolution of the industry
- New reporting procedures integrate financial and non-financial information, to enable a better understanding of an organisation’s performance and its impact on society
- New tools and designs for performance management systems are emerging, which provide information on performance outcomes and drivers in real-time
- Developing revenue management techniques in collaboration with marketing strategies are identifying cost and value added consequences
What does the future hold?
There is a projected increase in demand for accountants, auditors and company secretaries, in New Zealand and around the world. At the same time, intelligent technologies are increasingly taking over many routine tasks, including supplier onboarding, accounts payable, audits, procurement, purchasing, expense management and customer queries. But rather than replacing people, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) software is enabling accountants to move away from these repetitive manual tasks that have always been a means to an end, freeing up their time to focus on the more important parts of the job.
What skills and attributes can I gain from my Accounting major?
- An in-depth understanding of fundamental accounting concepts and theories
- The ability to prepare financial statements and reports, GST and tax returns
- The ability to analyse and interpret financial performance
- The ability to record, analyse and communicate the social, ethical, environmental and global aspects of financial decisions
- Expertise in designing cost systems and performance measurement systems appropriate to an organisation’s strategy and setting
- A working knowledge of revenue management methods as used by airlines, hotels and restaurants but with application to a broad range of organisations
- The ability to perform an evaluation of the viability and success or failure of an organisation, project or trial
- Relationship building skills
- Strategic thinking skills
- Ability to work under pressure
- Strong sense of professional standards and ethics
- Good time management and organisational skills
- Research skills including the ability to use data from multiple sources to provide insights for problem solving and critical thinking
- Oral and written communication skills
- Technological skills
Accounting career options
Accountant; accounts administrator/clerk/officer; actuary; analyst; auditor; bank worker; bookkeeper; debt collector; economist; finance manager; financial adviser/broker/planner; forensic accountant; insurance agent; payroll officer; tax specialist; teacher (secondary, tertiary); treasurer.
Where do Accounting graduates work?
One advantage of a professional accounting qualification (e.g., as a Chartered Accountant or CPA) is that it is recognised in many countries outside New Zealand, including the UK and Australia. Many accountants end up being CEOs and directors for New Zealand and international organisations. Our graduates can be found in:
- Multinational accounting and business service corporations
- Banking and financial services
- Management consultancies
- Government organisations
- Educational organisations
- Commercial enterprises
- Not-for-profit organisations
- Law firms
- Chartered accountancy practices
University of Auckland clubs and societies for Accounting students
Beta Alpha Psi – Auckland Chapter (BAP)
Beta Alpha Psi (BAP) is an international honours organisation for accounting, finance and information systems students and professionals. BAP recognises academic and professional excellence and complements members’ formal education by providing self-development opportunities and networking among students, faculty and professionals. Learn more
More clubs and societies at the Business School
Professional associations for Accounting students and graduates
Most Accounting major students aspire to become chartered or certified accountants. In Australia and New Zealand, these qualifications* are associated with joining one of the following:
- Chartered Accountants of New Zealand (CA ANZ)
- CPA Australia
- Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)
- Accounts and Tax Agents Institute of New Zealand (ATAINZ)
Social media networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter can also help you to keep up-to-date with industry knowledge, events and job vacancies.
Careers New Zealand
The Careers New Zealand website provides useful salary information for a range of business and industry roles, as well as information on the difference a qualification makes to what you are paid, and advice on negotiating your salary. You can also search for salary information by job.
Careers New Zealand
Inside Careers specialises in finance careers in the UK. You’ll find information on the following career sectors: actuaries, insurance, pensions, investment banking, chartered accountancy, tax and management consultancy
A great tool for exploring study and career options, with extensive information on labour supply and demand in over 100 occupations in New Zealand.
Occupation Outlook: Accountants
Prospects specialises in advice for UK university students and graduates. Much of the information is relevant to New Zealand students.