Rising accounting star wins scholarship

03 April 2012

When commerce student Craig Bott tries his hand at something, it’s a foregone conclusion that he won’t rest until he’s achieved the best.

That’s why it’s no surprise that the Bucklands Beach 21-year-old University of Auckland Business School student has just won a New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants Westpac Career Starter Scholarship for 2012.

Craig, who was last year awarded a Local Heroes Medal for Manukau in the New Zealander of the Year awards, gained the highest mark in the world of 98% in the 2007 Cambridge AS Level examinations for accounting. He has achieved a Gold Duke of Edinburgh's Hillary Award, and plays in a church band in his spare time.

But the $5,000 scholarship money looks set to help Craig leave New Zealand’s shores, at least temporarily. He’s keen to head off to the University of Glasgow in Scotland, where he will complete the final semester of his studies.

Now a coordinator of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Awards, Craig says he’s always been interested in accounting and studied successfully at school as he found it logical and easy to understand.

“I started working in a small chartered accounting firm over the school holidays when I was 16 and enjoyed it, so I knew that I would be happy to pursue a career in accounting,” he says.

Craig considers his Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award as one of his greatest achievements, as it represents a long-term commitment to community service.

“I like to inspire other people with the fact that young people are able to think beyond themselves. It also represents the culmination of a long period of regular commitment and perseverance – particularly with my final 65km tramp on the Greenstone/Routeburn tracks.”

Craig says rather than just learning by copying and memorising, he makes sure he understands the process and the reason behind each concept.

It’s that reasoning that makes the high achiever so successful, Department of Accounting and Finance head Professor David Hay says.

“Craig is an exceptional student with all the makings of a top-notch accountant, but putting everything he has into everything he does means he has that edge over other exceptional students.

“We are very proud to call Craig one of our students, as he represents the best New Zealand accounting brains poised to take on the world.”

Craig hopes to work overseas after gaining his CA qualification, and aspires to one day become a director or partner in a chartered accountancy firm or with a corporate.