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Accounting (BCom and BBusSc)

Accounting is the language of business used by Investors, Management, Entrepreneurs, Lenders, Financial analysts and Government bodies. Accountants analyse businesses and communicate information to stakeholders.

It is not necessary to have done Accounting at school if you wish to do Accounting at UCT. University accounting differs from school accounting in that it focuses on the decisions involved in the preparation of accounts as opposed to the mechanics of recording. Successful accountants can think logically, communicate effectively and enjoy working with people, they behave ethically and have a willingness to develop sound judgement.

An Accounting programme is useful for anyone who wishes to prepare for a career in business or in the accounting profession. With this qualification you will be able to work in any size or type of organisation and in any employment sector in any country. Successful professional accountants must be able to think logically, laterally and strategically. They must be able to make sound decisions based on a broad business perspective and their expertise in the following disciplines, (any one of which can become an area of further specialisation):

Financial Accounting

Financial accounting is the preparation and communication of the information relating to financial activities of the organisation.


Taxation is the structuring and determination of all the company's taxes in a legal and efficient manner.

Management Accounting

Managerial accounting provides the information required by managers for the decision making and control of the organisation.

Financial Management

Financial management is about making financial and investment decisions in terms of the long term objectives for your organisation.


Auditing is the evaluation of the integrity of information.

Students wishing to specialise in accounting can register for either the three year (4 year EDU) BCom or the 4 year (5 year EDU) BBusSc. Both of these degrees offer a number of different combinations of subjects in addition to accounting.

The accounting specialistion is offered as:

  • BCom (General Accountant)
  • BCom (Chartered Accountant) commonly referred to as the CA stream
  • BCom (Accounting and Law)
  • BBusSc (Finance CA or Non-CA option)

The main difference between the General Accountant (GA) and Chartered Accountant (CA) streams is that in the 3rd year GA students do terminating courses in Accounting III and Tax I (ACC IIIT and Tax IT).

BCom (General Accountant)

This degree is designed to give students a broad understanding of accounting and provides a more practical business focus than the BCom (C.A. stream) and the BCom (Accounting and Law). It serves as a basis for the opportunity to enter several highly respected international professional bodies such as ACCA and CIMA It is designed to serve the needs of students who do not wish to proceed to the Postgraduate Diploma in Accounting (PGDA) and continuing to qualify as Chartered Accounts [CA(SA)], but nonetheless appreciate the value of an accounting degree.

Graduates with this qualification could aim to become General Managers, Business Advisors, Accountants, Tax Officials, Accounting Officers, Company Secretaries, Internal Auditors, Tax Advisors.

BCom (CA) or BBusSc (Finance CA option)

The CA stream is designed for the students who are interested in qualifying as Chartered Accountants. The students are being prepared for the PGDA and the Professional Qualifying Examinations. Students selecting these options should be aiming towards the Chartered Accountant qualification.

Persons with this qualification could aim to become key members of top management teams such as the Managing Director or the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Tax Consultants, Financial Advisors, Financial Directors, Asset Managers, Information system auditors, Partners in an auditing practice, Forensic auditors.

BCom (Accounting and Law)

This combined accounting and law programme is designed for students who are interested in a legal career with a commercial background.

The first year courses for all three BCom options are identical so that students will not have made their final decision until they have experienced accounting at a tertiary level. BBusSc students do Accounting only in their second academic year of study.

Please note that any professional qualification requires a period of practical training in addition to the academic qualification.

Professional qualifications

Opportunities are available to students who choose Accounting as an area of specialisation to proceed, with further study and practical experience, to the attainment of a professional qualification through the various Accounting institutes. UCT does not at this stage provide tuition for completing professional examinations, other than for the SAICA qualification. Most professional institutes grant extensive exemptions for students with qualifications from UCT. The most notable of these institutes are the following:

  • CFA: Offered by the Institute of Commercial and Financial Accountants of Southern Africa.
  • CIMA: Offered by the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants. This is an Institute based in the UK which has an office in South Africa.
  • ACCA: Offered by the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants. This is an Institute based in the UK which has an office in South Africa.
  • CA(SA): Offered by the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants
  • (SAICA). The Department of Accounting offers the Postgraduate Diploma in Accounting (PGDA), a one year full-time or an extended two year fulltime course, to selected accounting majors who wish to obtain the CA (SA).

Postgraduate Diploma in Accounting: Students who have graduated with the BCom Chartered Accountant Stream or BBusSc Finance CA Option Stream are eligible to register for the one year full-time PGDA, provided they meet the academic standards for entry, through obtaining the required marks in their previous year of study. On successful completion of the PGDA a student is eligible to write Part I of the SAICA. After successful completion of a specialisation in auditing or financial management, and successful completion of the second professional examination and a period of traineeship with an auditing firm (TIPP) or a registered commercial organisation (TOPP), the student will be eligible to apply for the designation CA (SA).

Visit the Department of Accounting Website.