This study investigates the relationship between students’ socio-economic circumstances and students’ academic performance in an undergraduate accounting degree at a regional Australian university. The employment patterns and course participation preferences of accounting students are documented to understand actions needed to better attract future quality accounting students. The pilot study encompassed a survey of one hundred third year accounting students. It found no direct significant relationship between students’ paid work and their academic performance. Significantly the study revealed a positive relationship between student shift work and academic performance. Other findings were that students displayed a preference for online materials as opposed to traditional lecture delivery, and students identified work commitments as a barrier to their class attendance. These initial results have implications for the viability of traditional accounting textbooks, the pedagogically sound development of online accounting courses for generic skills development, and the assumptions behind current academic workload models. This study is a unique contribution to the understanding of the socio-economic and employment circumstances of Australian accounting students.