Dec 15, 2019  
University of Alberta Calendar 2017-2018 
University of Alberta Calendar 2017-2018 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Major in Accounting [Business]

Description of Field

Although there is significant overlap, accounting is generally divided into financial and managerial perspectives, with auditing and taxation as related areas of expertise. Financial accounting responds to the need for organizations to be accountable to society and to provide external parties with relevant information for making economic decisions. Financial statements are used by investors, creditors, government agencies, taxation authorities, employees, consumers, and other groups. Managerial accounting emphasizes the use of information within organizations to effectively plan and control operations, and to make a wide variety of business decisions. Auditing plays an integral role in providing accounting information. Auditors are independent accountants who assess accounting information and systems to ensure that the information produced is sufficiently objective and reliable that users can confidently use the information to make decisions and enter into contracts.

Accounting is of interest to all those who expect to be involved in managing and decision making within organizations because it provides a significant part of the information available. Conversely, accountants must extend their knowledge to include knowledge of other business disciplines, as well as knowledge about the economy and society at large, if they are to provide consistently useful information in a changing, competitive world. Accordingly, the accounting major leaves students considerable room to select electives to round out their personal program.

Career Opportunities

Graduates with an accounting major may wish to continue their studies by pursuing a professional designation in accounting. Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) is the new Canadian business and accounting designation. See Special Students Studying to Satisfy Requirements of Professional Accounting Organizations  for contact information. Graduates holding this designation work in public practice and in industry. Those in public practice engage in a wide variety of tasks including accounting and financial advisory services, auditing, taxation and business consulting. In industry, the roles of controller, chief financial officer, and other management positions are often filled by professional accountants. An accounting background is also useful to other professional designations such as Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), Chartered Financial Planner (CFP), Chartered Business Valuator (CBV), and Certified Investment Manager (CIM). Students considering any of these designations should consult the appropriate professional publications for more information.

Accounting backgrounds are also useful for students who prefer to move directly into managerial or entrepreneurial positions because accounting information forms the basis for many business decisions.

Sequence of Courses

Year Four


  1. See Policy on Elective Courses .
  2. May be taken in either of Year Three or Year Four.
  3. May be taken in any year except Year Two, Fall Term. Students planning to take advanced course work in Economics may wish to substitute ECON 281 , which is accepted as a substitute for BUEC 311  in the Accounting major.
  4. May be taken either in Year Two, (Winter Term) or Year Three.
  5. Students may choose to do ACCTG 416 , FIN 430 , OM 468  or SMO 441  in place of ACCTG 426 .
  6. a. Students planning to work toward a professional accounting designation should, in addition to the requirements of the major, consider taking courses for the applicable accounting organization. See Special Students Studying to Satisfy Requirements of Professional Accounting Organizations  for information concerning the Chartered Professional Accountants.

    b. While students are advised to follow the sequencing of accounting courses determined by the course prerequisites, when necessary, after-degree students or students with special scheduling problems may take an accounting course and its prerequisite concurrently with permission of the Department Chair.


  1. Students with a declared major in Accounting may choose to do a minor in any subject area of Business. See Minors for Business Students  . Minors are not required. 
  2. Students with a declared major in another area may complete a minor in Accounting by fulfilling the requirements of Minors for Business Students  .

Professional Requirements

Contact the applicable Accounting Organization for a listing of professional requirements. See Requirements of Professional Accounting Organizations