Students’ conceptions of learning or preconceived views of what learning means to students have been found to play a significant role in how they choose to approach their learning. This study investigates conceptions of learning held by accounting students in their second- and third-years in university. The study is based on phenomenographic and content-analytic approaches applied to survey responses of 207 accounting students from an Australian university. In the first phase of the analysis we identify 6 learning conceptions. Learning is conceived as: (1) increase of knowledge; (2) understanding; (3) knowledge acquisition for application; (4) a pathway to success; (5) seeing in new ways; and (6) self-development. Compared to similar studies we did not find evidence of the conception ‘learning as memorisation’. In contrast to prior research ‘learning as understanding’ emerged as a lower- order conception of learning in accounting students in this study. In the second phase we find that, after controlling for a range of factors that are likely to affect students’ conceptions of learning third-year students are more likely to adopt a higher-order conception. However, majority of the students, including third year students, continue to adopt low-order conceptions. These findings highlight the need to extend student learning beyond the acquisition of technical skills and knowledge to instil higher-order learning conceptions which underpin the development of generic skills much demanded of professional accountants. As a result, the findings of this study have implications for curriculum and assessment design, and learning and teaching practice in accounting degree programs.