We've probably answered some of your questions already. Here are our most frequently asked questions and their answers.
What is accounting?
Accounting provides the evidence base for informed business decision making (investing, financing, managing, operating, buying and selling). It informs and guides management decision-making and the allocation of scarce resources. It provides the tools for understanding firm performance and value to enable savvy decision making. It is the application of the science of measurement and the art of communication to enable savvy business decisions. Accounting is storytelling with data.
Why Accounting at UniMelb is not like VCE Accounting
VCE accounting is only really about the debits and credits of accounting. This is the arithmetic of accounting, but at Melbourne Accounting is about business decisions: understanding the best way to assess performance, value a firm, and develop actionable insight for the business based on accounting data. This is about judgment and reasoning rather than rules and rote learning. As a Melbourne accounting student you’ll learn how to apply accounting tools and techniques to solve a range of real-world business problems to prepare you for your future career.
To discover more about what accounting at university is like, check out The Real Accountant’s VCE Matters YouTube series. This series of videos expands on concepts covered in secondary school accounting programs to see what role they play in the real world of business - http://go.unimelb.edu.au/9zgj.
Why study Accounting at UniMelb?
Accounting at Melbourne is creative, challenging, and collaborative. You will be exposed to a range of unique experiences and opportunities throughout your studies, from learning how to use business leading software and data analytics, through to collaborating with large organisations across Melbourne. You will be taught by academics of international repute who are engaged with industry at the highest levels internationally and locally. For example, recently they have given advice to the International Accounting Standards Board. High achieving undergraduate students also get exposure to pioneering research collaborations with industry partners ranging from Big 4 accounting firms to not-for-profits seeking to make a difference in the community. We seek to develop our students into future leaders of the accounting and business world. Our curriculum is focused on this goal, and provides extension opportunities for high achieving students. Our accounting major is also accredited professionally by CPA Australia and Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand.
What is the difference between Accounting and other BCom majors?
Accounting is the driver of business action. It provides the scorecard for business performance, and the information to enable astute business decisions to achieve business objectives. It is not about maths or numbers, but about decision making and the information need to make shrewd business decisions. Melbourne Accounting graduates go on to a broad range of careers ranging from consulting to government policy advisor, as well as the more traditional accounting and auditing roles.
Click through to learn more about each BCom major:
What will I study in an accounting major at Melbourne?
An Accounting major at Melbourne allows you to develop capabilities across four main areas across the subjects you study:
Financial Accounting is focused on communicating the story of how an organisation is surviving or thriving: its economic performance, the value it is creating, and the potential it has in the future. Investors, lenders, and regulators, among others, are informed by the story in the financial reports.
Management Accounting tells the story for managers about how the organisation is performing. What products and services are delivering value? How are people working together (or not) to create value from the organisation’s resources effectively and efficiently?
Audit and Assurance is about ensuring both the data and organizational story can be trusted. This is much more than fact checking, it requires judgement and reflective thought. It also involves advising organisations to equip them in the future to have a more trustworthy story, and more effective organisation.
Accounting Information Systems is about understanding the nature of business data, and the process by which the data crafts the story of the business. It is the technological glue that binds the other three areas together.
If you’re interested in finding out more about the specific subjects you study as part of the accounting major, you can view more details on our study hub page - http://go.unimelb.edu.au/u5cr
What does the course structure look like?
A typical BCom course involves taking 24 units of study across 3 years. An Accounting major requires 8 units of study, alongside an additional 6 core BCom units that provide a foundation in different areas of commerce. The rest is up to you to decide between taking a second major, BCom electives, and breadth studies from other disciplines of the University. There are certain course requirements that need to be met, but the BCom course structure is very flexible, and gives you the opportunity to set your own direction for your university experience.
An Accounting major can be combined with majors in Economics, Finance, Management or Marketing. If you’re interested in gaining accreditation as a practising accountant, there are a series of business law subjects you can take as breadth alongside your Accounting major. You might also think about taking a Concurrent Diploma in areas such as Computing or Languages, or taking a semester of exchange at an overseas institution. All of this and more is possible with an Accounting major in a BCom degree!
What opportunities are available beyond the classroom?
The BCom, and Accounting major are full of opportunities to extend your studies beyond the classroom. Throughout your degree you will have the chance to participate in leadership forums, case competitions, skills workshops, career mentoring programs, and much more. There are a range of clubs and societies to get involved in, such as the Accounting Students’ Association, and the Commerce Students’ Society.
High achieving second- and third-year level accounting students are also invited to participate in the Future Leaders in Accounting Industry Research (FLAIR) program. FLAIR provides an opportunity to engage with accounting academics that are engaged in research projects with our industry partners. Interested students may have the option to collaborate with our academics on industry research projects they take an interest in.
Isn’t accounting just tax and spreadsheets?
Accounting definitely isn’t just about tax. You might be surprised to learn that many accountants don’t even complete their own tax returns! Accounting is a broad discipline, focused on understanding all areas of a business, and is about using information to facilitate decision-making. The study of accounting is focused on the analysis and use of information to run and improve businesses. Tax is just one of the many sub-disciplines of accounting. If you’re interested in tax, you have the option to take subjects in this area, but it is not required as part of the accounting major at Melbourne. As to spreadsheets, yes accountants use spreadsheets, but you wouldn’t say being a novelist is all about mastering Microsoft Word – far from it!
Do I need to have already studied accounting at VCE/secondary school?
No! Our accounting course starts with the fundamentals of accounting, and we do not expect students to have taken previous accounting studies. If you have studied some accounting at the VCE or secondary school level, you will probably find the content of the first few weeks of your first year familiar, but you will very quickly be introduced to new content that will open up your thinking to the possibilities accounting can bring. Even the content you may be familiar with you’ll see in a different light with deeper real-world implications.
Won’t accountants just be replaced by AI and automation?
Quite the opposite. The explosion of data analysis and fast-paced business operations brought on by automation are only create more demand for accountants as the original business data professionals! Accountants are charged with giving meaning to the analysis produced by AI and machine learning. Similarly, it is the accountant who has the expertise in business process design that is essential if any automation is going to work. Accounts are also then perfectly positioned to address the challenging, high value added human judgment tasks and decisions that cannot be automated or handled by AI. If you want to know more, why not check out the recent CPA Australia Report on Technology and the Future of the Profession (after all it was co-authored by academics at Melbourne, and a high achieving undergraduate student!): https://go.unimelb.edu.au/4fmr. If it’s more your style you can listen to the CPA Australia Podcast “Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Accounting (it’s not as scary as you think)” at: http://go.unimelb.edu.au/na9j.