Purpose-The purpose of this paper is to report on the effectiveness of a workshop (cooperative learning) based seminar approach in an undergraduate accounting subject. Design/methodology/approach-The effectiveness is assessed using a combination of student perceptions obtained in a survey of students enroled in a third-year elective accounting unit, and a comparison of student performance across semesters with alternative teaching structures. Findings-The survey results provide strong evidence that students perceive that seminar-based learning is effective in improving generic skills, including problem solving, critical thinking, and analytical skills. The findings also suggest that groups were generally successful, while many students found that the weekly case study assignments kept them engaged with the unit and provided them with an insight into real-world activities. The analysis of student performance provides further support for the effectiveness of this approach with the students subject to the seminar approach performing better in regard to the three types of assessments analysed. Practical implications-Academics should consider using the seminar-based approach to inculcate the skills required in the accounting profession. Originality/value-The study provides a unique insight into the success of a change in teaching structure from a traditional structure to a seminar-based workshop. The study examines both student perceptions and actual student performance.