School of Accounting and Commercial Law


On this page:

Research finds strategies to overcome ethnic discrimination in accounting industry

18 May 2015

Victoria University of Wellington PhD graduate Dr George Huang.

Dr George Huang, School of Accounting and Commercial Law PhD graduate

Aspiring accountants from an ethnic minority have greater success finding a job if they adopt strategies that minimise their cultural differences, a Victoria University of Wellington PhD graduate has found.

Dr George Huang, from the School of Accounting and Commercial Law, has found accounting graduates from an ethnic minority have a harder time entering the accounting industry in Wellington than New Zealanders.

His research confirms previous studies that show Chinese and Indian nationals are more likely to be excluded from entering the workforce, based on factors that are determined by their ethnicity.

But Dr Huang’s study goes a step further and finds those from the Middle East, Africa and other Asian countries are also more likely to face discrimination than their New Zealand counterparts.

Dr Huang explains that employers typically have two streams of criteria when hiring new employees.

The first is based on technical knowledge, skills and qualifications. The second includes social and cultural factors such as mannerisms, oral language skills and local experience, which are most often determined by the applicant’s ethnic background.

"I found New Zealand society can place too much attention on social and cultural constructs. When employers do this, they can overlook the capability and functionality of the accountant.

"The second part of my thesis provides several strategies for aspirant accountants to overcome potential discrimination on social and cultural bases.

"Some strategies, such as cutting out the overseas qualifications or experience from their CV, or changing to an English surname are not so positive, but really worked," he says.

Dr Huang also found aspiring accountants had more success finding a job if they focussed on niche roles and developed local social networks in the industry.

Forty-five accounting graduates from across 20 ethnic backgrounds were interviewed in Wellington in early 2014 for the research and of those, 38 have since found employment appropriate to their qualifications.

Professor Rachel Baskerville from the School of Accounting and Commercial Law says Dr Huang's research is "a unique contribution" to other studies on exclusion factors in the workplace.

"He was able to give voice to many aspiring professionals who are otherwise silent," she says.

Back to top ^

SACL student wins with Summer Gold Poster

1 April 2015

Harry Berger, a third year student in accounting and law, won a Faculty Best Poster prize for his rendition of “The Third Sector in 2045”. Harry’s research, the result of his summer scholarship in 2014/15 used scenario mapping to forecast the future of the not-for-profit (or third) sector. He identified specific drivers that were most likely to affect the future of the third sector and then combined them to forecast how this might affect the sector in 2045. With each scenario synopsis, he also provided a caution, showing the shape of excess. Harry was supervised by  Associate Professors Carolyn Cordery (SACL) and Karen Smith (School of Management).  Harry's poster is available here.

Harry and Carolyn with the poster

Photo: Harry Berger and Carolyn Cordery beside Harry's winning poster


Back to top ^

New Financial Markets Law Publication

24 March 2015

Financial Markets Conduct Regulation: A Practitioner’s Guide, a book co-written by Trish Keeper, Senior Lecturer in Commercial Law, was recently launched at a function at Buddle Findlay. The book provides guidance on the legislative scheme implemented by the Financial Markets Conduct Act 2013, the largest change in New Zealand’s financial market laws in the last 20 years. It is designed to provide a resource for all those advising on, or working within, the reformed financial markets regime. The book is co-authored with Victoria Stace from the Victoria University Law School and practitioners from law firms in Wellington, Hamilton and Auckland. It is published by LexisNexis.


Trish Keeper (centre) and co-authors

Back to top ^

SACL’s Achievements Ceremony - top students’ Awards for Excellence and Prizes night

20 March 2015

Photo: The Excellence Award and Prize Winners with, in the front row, the sponsors of the Prizes, and with, from right to left: Prof Ian Eggleton, Head of School, SACL, Mr Tony Dale, Chief Executive of the XRB and Carolyn Cordery, Associate Professor, SACL

Top students in the School of Accounting and Commercial Law were recently honoured at the School’s Achievements Ceremony held on Tuesday, 10 March with Awards for Excellence in Accounting, Commercial Law and Taxation. A number of students were also commemorated for prizes they had won in a number of sponsored courses in the School.

The ceremony was held in the Memorial Theatre, Student Union Building in the presence of family and friends of the award winning students, SACL staff members and representatives from the sponsoring firms and organisations, and friends of SACL.

The keynote speech was given by Tony Dale, Chief Executive of the External Reporting Board and an alumnus of the School. Mr Dale addressed the students, congratulating them on their achievement and encouraging them to aim high, consider further study and appreciate the high quality of the accounting, commercial law and taxation courses they were studying.

The Prize Winners received their certificates from senior management in private and public sector organsiations while the Excellence Award winners were the best academic performers in their second and third years of study in Accounting, Commercial Law and Taxation courses.

The full list of Excellence Award and Prize winners is:

Prize Winners

Liam Beattie, Elizabeth Goggin, Matthew Lunny, Carolyn Palmer, Timothy Paterson, Dawn Richardson, Arushi Sharma and James Van Dissen with Shuhua Chen and Nicole Sullivan receiving their prizes in absentia.

Excellence Award Winners

Certificate of Excellence in Accounting

Zoe Brandon, Cory Dixon, Ursula Inder, Nadeeja Liyanage, Alicia McQuade, Shane Philipsen, Derek Snow, Brittany Stewart and Andrea Tarelli. Kelly David and Akmal Idris received their certificate in absentia.

Certificate of Excellence in Commercial Law

William Lower, Rosie Murphy and Alice Niland-Williment. Receiving their certificate in absentia were: Peter Childs, Evelyn Elisara, Robert Holland, Michael Nelson and George Spittle.

Certificate of Excellence in Taxation

Jonathan Jeevaraj, Harneet Kalra, Davina Lach and Alison Snellen with David Wing receiving his certificate in absentia.

There were also ten students who achieved Excellence in two disciplines:

Samuel Barr, Siobhan Bassett, Sarah Burr, Youh-Chern Lin and Alex Tunstall (with Shuhua Chen and Harriette Moore in absentia) who received Certificates of Excellence in Accounting and Commercial Law; and Elizabeth Goggin, Zoe Goodwin and Caroline Young who received Certificates of Excellence in Accounting and Taxation.

Back to top ^